New bioreactor prototype evaluates tissue while engineering it
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a prototype bioreactor, or device used to culture cells and engineer tissues, that can stimulate and evaluate the engineered tissue as it grows, using ultrasound. This new ultrasound technique allows the bioreactors to recreate natural processes while eliminating the need to stop periodically and cut up samples for analysis, as well as prevents the destruction of the tissue, which is common in conventional methods. "Most bioreactors don't do any type of nondestructive evaluation," NIST postdoctoral researcher Jenni Popp, first author of a new paper about the instrument, said. "Having some sort of ongoing evaluation of the developing tissue is definitely novel." Tissue created in a bioreactor using this technique could someday be used to replace, for example, damaged or diseased cartilage in the knee and hip.