Overview static play

Organs and tissues can experience injury, disease, and age-related decline, resulting in partial or complete loss of their function. Despite decades of research and the growing need to heal or replace human organs, we still cannot engineer complex human tissues or organs. CELL-MET is determined to change this.

We aim to build mature heart tissue and are developing cellular and biomaterial technologies in service of this effort. We have made important scientific and technological advances at the interface of several fields, including stem cell biology, nanoscaffold engineering, materials science, bioprinting, mechanobiology, and imaging.

Our transdisciplinary approach to engineering complex, functional heart tissue also positions CELL-MET as a leader in the emerging field of research where engineering and biology converge. This domain, which we call “Eng-Bio Convergence,” is becoming an essential source for scientific solutions to complex challenges. The Eng-Bio Convergence technologies developed by CELL-MET have a wide range of applications and the potential to drive new multibillion-dollar industries.

CELL-MET has focused on cardiac muscle for three reasons:

  1. It is very difficult to obtain living human cardiac tissue.
    This impacts basic biological experiments, testing new drug therapies, or regenerative medicine applications.
  2. Human cardiac tissue does not regenerate.
    This partially explains the high morbidity and mortality associated with heart injury and disease.
  3. Cardiac tissue is very specialized.
    This poses unique scientific, technological, and translational challenges compared to other tissue systems.

Engineering functional, clinically significant heart tissue will be a major victory in the battle against heart disease. Moreover, the technologies developed and lessons learned along the way can be used to build tissue for other organs.

A cardiac patch. CELL-MET is advancing nano-bio-manufacturing methods with the goal of contributing large-scale fabrication of functional heart tissue, which could replace diseased or damaged heart muscle. Illustration courtesy of Jeroen Eyckmans