Human Tissue Culture Technology – Part II
Human Tissue Culture Technology – Part II
  • Kim Kyung-nam
  • 승인 2009.11.02 01:20
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Kim Kyung-nam, CEO of Microdigital Co., Ltd.

Last story was about bioreactors, one of the three major components for human tissue cultures. This time, scaffolds or support frames for cells to be grown will discussed.

In tissue engineering terms, a scaffold is a necessary support frame for cells to be seeded, grown and become a full organ. It has a 3-dimensional structure and without it organ regeneration or cell culturing is not possible. Due to the difficulties in the material selection and fabrication, many researchers in the field of tissue engineering are paying great attention to scaffolds. Then, what is the scaffold in your terms

Tissue engineering or general engineering utilized everyday is a western-oriented study. Therefore, fluency in the language of engineering makes a better one in learning or application. Definitely watching the same movie over and over again helps a lot. My non-English native colleagues during graduate school used to talk about the efficiency of watching movies. Even my Ph.D. advisor who was originally from Yugoslavia used to talk about the pros and cons of the watching English-spoken movies in his mid twenties.

Jodie Foster in the movie, Contact

I have enjoyed watching SF movies. The most impressive or memorable one is Contact, a story about the woman astronaut, dreams, extraterrestrial beings, contact, space transport vehicles, and possibility, starring Jodie Foster. Is there any relationship between the movie and scaffolds Of course, there is no direct relationship between the movie Contact and scaffolds.

One day Ally (Jodie Foster's act) received a very strong and unique electric signal not originating from Earth. Surprisingly the signal, in fact a 2-dimensional image, turned out to be Hitler's announcement of the Berlin Olympic Games. Due to the nature of the graphics, i.e., Hitler on the TV image, many people worried about the potential hostile action from extraterrestrials, however Ally dug out a machine blueprint, drawings for a space transport vehicle, hidden inside the 2-dimensional signal.

That 2-dimensional TV image was utilized as a carrier or a transport device for delivering messages by extraterrestrial beings. Why did it have to be Hitler's image It was the very first signal sent outside the Earth.

The TV image was a blueprint for a space transport vehicle, and a scaffold is the same for human tissue culturing. Ally in the movie utilized many kinds of digital filters to find the hidden blueprint. Engineers in the field of tissue engineering utilize scaffolds to inoculate and culture human cells.

One big difference between the movie and human tissue culturing is bio absorbability for tissue cultures or automatic decoding of the signal for a movie. In other words, in contrast to the blueprint for space transport vehicles gained from decoding TV images, a scaffold should be bio-absorbed or disappear after culturing is accomplished. If the screenwriter of the movie applied the concept of bio-absorbability to the movie, scenes of the automatic disappearance of the TV image after decoding the blueprint would be available. Of course, bio-absorbability does not help the movie or story telling.

Simply speaking, a scaffold is just like a suture used in a surgical operation. Sutures put together parted tissues during surgery while scaffolds locate and grow cells during culturing. When the suture or scaffold is not necessary any more, it disappeared, in fact it is bio-absorbed, automatically.

Two very important technical requirements arise in scaffolds: bio-compatibility and bio-absorbability. In order to meet these two, engineers should pay special attention to the selection of the materials and fabrication methods. Whether it is a natural or artificial material, guidelines of bio-compatibility and bio-absorbability should be satisfied and at the same time strength for the entire duration of the culturing should be sustained. It is very difficult to hit two birds with one stone. Maybe that's why many talented engineers and scientists are working in the scaffold research and development.

One of the leading research groups is Prof. Cho, Dong-Woo's team at POSTECH. Prof. Cho's main research interests are the development of scaffold fabrication method using SFF (solid freedom fabrication) with various bio materials and natural materials. He also researches on the improvement of the efficiency in tissue regeneration rate including the cell growing factor.

Prof. Yun, Won-Soo, a young researcher at KPU (Korea Polytech University) has developed a scaffold fabrication system using commercialized blue-ray laser and piling up technology utilized in FDM (fused deposition modeling) system. By using above mentioned system and bio-compatible materials he is working on development of scaffold.

In the movie 'contact' Ally's persistent endeavor resulted in contacting extraterrestrial beings for first time in human history. What made the movie more interesting were many engineering technologies and application ideas including the blue print of space transport vehicle coupled with TV image.

Engineering is to "provide environment or tools" rather than to find something new. Cell therapy or tissue engineering was a just a dream for patients or medical scientists when the movie 'contact' was released. A decade from the "contact-the movie", many engineers and researchers are contacting to future of disease cure by human tissue culturing.

Series Schedule

Issue Title Subject
Sept Human Tissue Culture Technology – Part I  
Oct Human Tissue Culture Technology – Part II  
Nov Alternative Energy: Bio-diesel from Micro-algae  
Dec The Importance of Samples: Sample Archiving & Research D/B management for IT industry is highly important. What about samples for the biomedical industry
Jan What Are Bio Instruments The nature of medical instruments are well known. Then, what are bio instruments
Feb Idea and Technology Realizations Starting from an idea catch up, a prototype development process will be described from real experience.

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