Columbia University

Technology Ventures

Biomechanical Stimulation System for Creating and Pre-Conditioning Engineered Tissue Grafts

Technology #m09-046

“Lead Inventor: Helen Lu, Ph.D.

Assessing Engineered Tissue Constructs to Create and Optimize Functional Tissue Grafts Many biological tissues, such as bone, ligament, tendon, and cartilage tissues must experience mechanical strain and stimulation to function optimally in vivo. Therefore, in order to create functional tissues for repair or regeneration therapy, it is essential that mechanical properties of engineered tissue match those observed with healthy tissue in vivo. There is a need for controlled systems that can interrogate the biomechanical properties of engineered tissue constructs, to create, optimize, and develop functional tissue grafts. The same system can also be used to assess biomechanical characteristics of biological grafts (e.g. autografts or allografts). Multi-Unit Biomechanical Stimulation Uses Chemical Stimuli to Create and Pre-Condition Engineered Tissue Grafts We have developed a flexible, multi-unit platform that can apply controlled and complex mechanical stimulation protocols, in the presence of defined chemical stimuli. The device can be used to perform multiple independent experiments in parallel, thus serving as a high-throughput research platform for evaluation or cell and cell-matrix behavior under varying mechanical and chemical conditions. Additionally, the device permits loading and culturing of cells and matrix or scaffolds in the same chamber, eliminating physical transfers of the constructs that disrupt the sensitive cell environment. In this manner, the device serves as a bioreactor, permitting the creation of engineered tissue grafts under specifically optimized mechanical and chemical conditions. Independent of its bioreactor function, the platform can also be used to pre-condition engineered tissue grafts, to accelerate restoration of normal biomechanical function of the graft after implantation. Additionally, the device can be used as a platform to evaluate the mechanical properties of biological grafts to assess biomechanical quality and viability thereof.

Applications: • Clinical: Can be used to evaluate and/or monitor biomechanical viability and quality of engineered or biological tissue grafts prior to implantation. • Clinical: Can be used to pre-condition engineered or biological tissue grafts prior to implantation. • Clinical: Can be used as a bioreactor to create and optimize engineered grafts • Research: Can be used to study the effects of biomechanical stimulation on stem cell differentiation as well as cell-matrix interactions, under controlled conditions.

Advantages: • High throughput: the bioreactor can hold up to 40 samples. • Flexibility in sample: the bioreactor can accommodate scaffolds and grafts (engineered or biological) of varying sizes. • Flexibility in operating profiles: the bioreactor can simultaneously accommodate different compression or tensile loading profiles as well as varying chemical profiles. • FDA-compliant: the bioreactor is made from FDA-compliant components, making it a suitable environment for cellular sustainability and proliferation. • Industrial nominal sizes and parts make the bioreactor easy to fabricate and assembly

Patent Status: Patent application pending

Licensing Status: Available for Licensing ”