Consortium Formed to Create Artificial Tissue
AACHEN, Germany, Jan. 26, 2012 — Under the leadership of Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, a consortium of 16 European partners from the medical industry and research community has been established to generate artificial tissue for implants under the project ArtiVasc 3-D.
One of the biggest challenges in the medical industry has been to create multilayer tissue structures designed to diffuse nutrients for surrounding cells in a similar manner to natural tissue.
The ArtiVasc 3-D project team at Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen. (Image: Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen)
The consortium will develop a process of engineering artificial tissues with a blood supply similar to those in natural arteries.
Fraunhofer ILT held the kickoff meeting for the project in late November. ArtiVasc 3-D received €7.8 million (about $10.3 million) in funding from the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme.
Using current technologies, skin grafts that do not require vascularization cannot be grown beyond a surface area of 1 cm2 and a thickness of 1 to 2 mm. For larger and thicker areas of tissue, vascularization is necessary.
Over the next four years, the consortium will combine technologies from the fields of additive manufacturing and biofunctionalization to develop a process capable of engineering blood vessels in an artificial scaffold system. These vascularized scaffolds will be populated with autologous cells to formulate vascularized fatty tissue and, ultimately, artificial skin. The artificial skin will be used as an in vitro test system — for example, to reduce the number of animal experiments — and be employed directly in skin grafts.
For more information, visit: www.ilt.fraunhofer.de
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