Health In Focus
  • A bioactive tissue paper has been produced that can be folded, cut, sutured and even stored in a refrigerator
  • The paper supports the production of hormones by ovarian follicles grown in it
  • It also supports the growth of bone marrow stem cells

Bioactive tissue paper developed from bovine or porcine organs and could be useful for several purposes including regenerative medicine and drug discovery. The research was published in Advanced Functional Materials.

Bioprinting is being explored for the production of synthetic tissues and even entire organs that can be used for transplantation. It uses cells filled in cartridges, referred to as bioink, which can be printed using 3D printers resulting in an output of 3D tissues. Thus, it could be possible to print organs using the patient's own cells in the future, which could be customized for the patient and would avoid the problem of rejection. The more likely immediate uses of bioprinting appear to be in the transplantation of skin and blood vessels. Currently, experimental human blood vessels have been printed.
Bioactive Tissue Paper Has Potential Use in Regenerative Medicine

The bioactive tissue paper was discovered accidentally following the spill of a 3-D printing ink. It contains the protein that is located outside the cells, called extracellular matrix. The protein was dried, powdered, and then combined with a polymer to give it its final form.

Some of the properties of the bioactive tissue produced by the scientists are as follows:
  • The paper is thin but strong and pliable and can be easily folded, cut, rolled or sutured, which makes it easy to use it during surgery. The scientists have demonstrated its properties by making origami out of the papers. It remains mechanically robust even when wet.
  • It is made from organs like ovary, uterus, heart, liver and muscle obtained from pigs or cows.
  • The tissue supports the production of hormones by ovarian follicles. When the ovarian follicles were grown in the tissue made from bovine ovary, the follicles produced hormones. Thus, the tissue with the follicles could possibly be inserted into the body of young cancer patients who have lost their hormonal functions due to the cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It could also serve as a hormone replacement therapy in menopausal women.
  • The tissue can assist in wound healing and prevent scarring. Since the paper holds the specific properties of the organ from which it is obtained, it could provide the necessary biochemicals that are required for tissue regeneration and support wound healing.
  • When bone marrow stem cells (cells that can give rise to other types of cells) were put on the tissue paper, the tissue paper supported the growth of the cells, which multiplied on it.
  • The paper can be easily stored. It can be frozen in the refrigerator or the freezer and used later when needed.
Though the tissue appears to have favorable properties, it will be still some time before it can be used in humans. The scientists feel that it has the potential to be used in various fields like tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, drug discovery and therapeutics.

Reference :
  1. Jakus AE et al. "Tissue Papers" from Organ-Specific Decellularized Extracellular Matrices. DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201700992
Source: Medindia

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