Novel Scaffolding Allows for More Effective Cell Transplanting


Vanderbilt researchers have bioengineered a new scaffolding that provides immediate blood flow to transplanted cells and is undetected by the immune system’s lymphatic surveillance. Traditionally, transplanting tissue and cells triggers an immune attack on said cells, often causing the body to reject the transplanted matter. A major conduit for these attacks is the disruption of the lymphatic vessel “surveillance system”. This novel scaffolding aims to prevent an immune attack by bypassing the surveillance.

Addressed Need

Based on data from the CDC, nearly 1 in 10 adults suffer from diabetes. Thankfully, promising research has shown that this disease can potentially be cured by transplanting pancreatic beta cells. Unfortunately, current transplant methods cause a violent immune system rejection and consequently require the patient to have their immune system intensively suppressed. This in turn puts the patient at a substantial risk for other infections and also incurs significant economic costs while increasing the burden on the patient by requiring daily medication. This technology addresses these concerns.

Unique Features

  • Allows for immediate blood flow while simultaneously keeping transplanted cells free from the immune system’s detection and subsequent attack.
  • Able to incorporate capillary sized channels that allow for new blood vessels to form which has long been a limiting factor for tissue engineering.

Technology Development Status

A prototype device has been constructed for transplantation into mice. Ongoing testing has validated that pancreatic beta cells can survive long-term inside of the scaffold and remain intact when perfused with blood.

Intellectual Property Status

A patent application has been filed.


Licensing Contact

Philip Swaney

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