Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are adult stem cells traditionally found in the bone marrow. However, mesenchymal stem cells can also be isolated from other tissues including cord blood, placenta, peripheral blood, fallopian tube, and fetal liver and lung. Multipotent MSCs can differentiate to form adipocytes, cartilage, bone, tendons, muscle, and skin. The purpose of this work is to design a process for the exponential replication of MSCs to ensure adequate numbers of cells followed by the use of stem cell-directed differentiation to produce populations of different tissue types. Each of the different cell type lineages produced, and the matrix components between the cells, could then be configured to any customized shape using 3D printers as the “machines” that produce the living tissue via the accretion (additive manufacturing) of the living cells, and the glue-like extracellular substances that holds the cell together (the latter, “the ink in the process”).
It is estimated that as many as 1 in 3 individuals in the United States might benefit from organ transplantation and regenerative medicine therapy involving stem cells. Some of these usages include applications that affect coronary disease, connective tissue disease, neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, stroke, and spinal cord injury for example. Although tissue engineering and regenerative medicine is a rapidly evolving field, current production and manufacturing technologies are grossly inadequate to ensure a sufficient quantity and quality of stem cells to meet these needs. Few studies have been reported concerning the scalability of stem cell processes that address major concerns relevant to widespread application of the technology to treat human disorders.
Our initial designs will use MSCs from the human umbilical cord and placenta. These MSCs have a number of significant advantages over other sources of stem cells such as: prompt availability, ease of collection with no risk to the mother or newborn, more tolerance to tissue mismatches, reduced incidence of Graft-versus-Host Disease (GVHD), and decreased risk of transmissible of viral infections; while maintaining the ability to differentiate into multiple cell types include cardiomyocytes, neural cells, adipocytes, hepatocytes, endothelial cells, osteoblasts, chrondrocytes and lung (airway or alveolar) cells.
The proposed assembly process will be superlatively leveraged (“supercharged” so to speak) through the use of exponential high-throughput design, automation, robotics, sensitivity, computing power, analytics, speed, and output. The tissue designs for example, will be developed, perfected, and actualized using 3D printers guided by the most advanced software available, but easily accessible, on the cloud. It is hoped that the above work will have multiple applications in organ transplantation and regenerative medicine in humans and even in the companion animals of humans.