stem cells

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In vitro human tissues via multi-material 3-D bioprinting

David B. Kolesky, Kimberly A. Homan, Mark Skylar-Scott and Jennifer A. Lewis

This paper highlights the foundational research on multi-material 3-D bioprinting of human tissues, for which the Lewis Bioprinting team at Harvard University was awarded the 2017 Lush Science Prize. The team’s bioprinting platform enables the rapid fabrication of 3-D human tissues that contain all of the essential components found in their in vivo counterparts: cells, vasculature (or other tubular features) and extracellular matrix. The printed 3-D tissues are housed within a customised perfusion system and are subjected to controlled microphysiological environments over long durations (days to months). As exemplars, the team created a thick, stem cell-laden vascularised tissue that was controllably differentiated toward an osteogenic lineage in situ, and a 3-D kidney tissue that recapitulated the proximal tubule, a subunit of the nephron responsible for solute reabsorption. This highly versatile platform for manufacturing 3-D human tissue in vitro opens new avenues for replacing animal models used to develop next-generation therapies, test toxicity and study disease pathology.
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ESNATS Conference — The Use of Human Embryonic Stem Cells for Novel Toxicity Testing Approaches

Costanza Rovida, Manon Vivier, Bernward Garthoff and Jürgen Hescheler

The main achievements and results of the ESNATS project (Embryonic Stem Cell-based Novel Alternative Testing Strategies) were presented at the final project conference that was held on 15 September 2013, the day before the traditional EUSAAT (European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing) Congress in Linz, Austria. The ESNATS project was an FP7 European Integrated Project, running from 2008 to 2013, the aim of which was to develop a novel toxicity testing platform based on embryonic stem cells (ESCs), and in particular, human ESC (hESCs), to accelerate drug development, reduce related R&D costs, and propose a powerful alternative to animal tests in the spirit of the Three Rs principles. Altogether, ESNATS offered the first proof of concept that hESCs can be used to create robust, reproducible and ready-to use test assays for predicting human toxicity. In the end, essentially five test systems were developed to an adequate level for entering possible pre-validation procedures. These methods are based on hESCs, and can be combined to study the possible effects, on the human embryo, of exposure to a chemical during the early stages of development. In addition to the presentations by the main project partners, external speakers were invited to give lectures on relevant topics, both in the field of neurotoxicity and, more generally, on the applicability of hESCs in the development of advanced in vitro tests.

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Haematotoxicology: Scientific Basis and Regulatory Aspects

Laura Gribaldo

Haematopoietic tissues are the targets of numerous xenobiotics. The purpose of in vitro haematotoxicology is the prediction of adverse haematological effects from toxicants on human haematopoietic targets under controlled experimental conditions in the laboratory. Building on its foundations in experimental haematology and the wealth of haematotoxicological data found in experimental oncology, this field of alternatives toxicology has developed rapidly during the past decade. Preclinical and clinical drug development for anti-cancer drugs differs from that for other pharmaceuticals, because of the life-threatening nature of the disease. Treatment with anti-cancer drugs at clinically efficacious doses usually induces serious side-effects. The design of preclinical toxicology studies for anti-cancer drugs is intended to identify a safe clinical starting dose, characterise toxicities that could be encountered in human clinical trials, and determine whether these toxicities are reversible, manageable, and predictable. Although the myeloid colony-forming unit (CFU-GM) progenitor is most frequently evaluated, other defined progenitors and stem cells, as well as cell types found in the bone-marrow stroma, can now be evaluated in vitro. Genetic damage to haematopoietic cells can occur in the absence of any overt haematological signs. The development of tissue-specific screening systems that are able to give information about the toxic effects of chemicals, drugs and environmental hazards on target genes is needed, in order to make preliminary decisions or to set priorities for selection among large groups of chemicals and possible drugs.
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The Generation of Three-dimensional Tissue Structures with Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Paul G. Genever

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stem cells, found in the bone-marrow and other adult tissues, which give rise to various cell lineages. Although MSCs are biologically important, and may have widespread therapeutic potential, they are not well-characterised, particularly in terms of their cell surface receptors and in vivo phenotype. We aimed to develop a three-dimensional (3-D) MSC in vitro model, in order to understand the factors involved in the regulation of lineage specification routes. A suitable model, which replicates the MSC microenvironment as accurately as possible, will allow moredetailed investigations into the phenotype of the cells. Our MSC spheroids appear to have an enhanced mesenchymal differentiation compared to two-dimensional MSC monolayers. With this in vitro system, it is possible to perform real-time analysis of cellular differentiation status. MSC spheroids may also be amenable for use in high-throughput assays. A more-recent research project aims to generate knockout micro-tissues, based on human 3-D MSCs, as an alternative to animal studies.
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