University of Edinburgh
Pluripotent stem cells retain the ability to form all cell types in the human body. This provides the field with renewable forms of human tissue, from defined genetic backgrounds, to model physiology ‘in the dish’ and also for clinical application in the future. While many protocols exist to generate somatic cell types from pluripotent stem cells, their phenotype is usually fetal in nature and can be unstable in simple 2-dimensional culture. The field has approached these limitations, using various strategies, such as 3-dimensional sphere formation, tissue microfabrication, genome editing, cell perfusion and scaffold driven tissue assembly.
In addition to these important considerations, the scale up of stem cell derived technologies requires significant input from other scientific disciplines. A good example of this is the use of bioprinting and encapsulation to generate functional tissue at scale to treat organ deficiencies in vivo. Vital to these endeavours are the quality control of stem cell-derived tissue. This requires the analyses of complex datasets to define the release criteria and tissue phenotyping. Complementary to these snapshot measurements of tissue performance is the use of label-free assessment. This allows the user to control for quality and tissue performance in real time.
Following prototype design and proof of concept, the next step is technology translation. A key step in this process is industrialisation and commercialisation. This promises the genesis of human tissue at scale, which can be banked and shipped on demand at an affordable cost. Because of the importance of interdisciplinary research in the field, this Collection will bring together techniques across disciplines for the generation of human tissue for application.