The pathfinder project “PRInted Symbiotic Materials as a dynamic platform for Living Tissues production” aims at creating a flexible platform for next generation living tissue manufacturing based on Hybrid Living Materials. PRISM-LT was written by the University of Glasgow and involves 5 partners. ISiS will work on Ethical, Legal and Social aspects (ELSA) of the research involved.
The researchers plan to design a novel bio-ink where stem cells are integrated in a support matrix enriched with engineered helper cells (either bacteria or yeasts, depending on the application and requirements). Tuning the operational parameters of the bioprinting process, we will cast down the material controlling the mechanical properties of each “voxel”, to get to a 3D patterned structure where stem cells are locally induced to initiate their differentiation towards different lineages. As far as stem cells proliferate, the helpers remain in a quiescent state.
However, when the stem cells get stimulated by the local (printed) mechanics and enter a differentiation pathway, they start secreting a pool of lineage-specific metabolites. The helper cells are designed to sense these early markers of differentiation, and to respond by producing in-situ the corresponding growth factors, providing the relevant chemical guidance. Helper cells within the platform amplify the initial lineage commitment in each area and dynamically sustain differentiation on a longer term. During the project we will implement this strategy and develop two independent symbiotic materials, targeting biomedical and food applications, respectively.