Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:HART), a clinical stage biotechnology company developing regenerated organs for transplant, initially focused on the trachea, announces that a research team led by Paolo Macchiarini, MD, PhD at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has successfully transplanted a regenerated esophagus into a rat using a bioreactor developed by HART. Dr. Macchiarini has previously overseen several successful regenerated trachea transplants in human patients using a bioreactor developed by HART.
The research detailing the new procedure, "Experimental orthotopic transplantation of a tissue engineered oesophagus in rats," was published today in Nature Communications and is available to read at http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms4562.
This research will also be presented at the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) Annual Meeting 2014 to be held April 26-30 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Canada.
David Green, CEO of Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology, said, "We congratulate Professor Macchiarini and his research team for this breakthrough in the development of a regenerated esophagus for transplant. We are honored to have been able to support this work by adapting our trachea regeneration bioreactor specifically for the regeneration of the esophagus. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Professor Macchiarini in developing this technology with the goal of performing the first human transplant of a regenerated esophagus."
Despite several attempts, it has been proven difficult to grow tissue to replace a damaged esophagus. In this new study, the researchers created the bioengineered organs by using esophagi from rats and removing all the cells. With the cells gone, a scaffold remains in which the structure as well as mechanical and chemical properties of the organ are preserved. The produced scaffolds were then reseeded with cells from the bone marrow. The cells adhered to the biological scaffold and started to show organ-specific characteristics within three weeks.
The cultured tissues were used to replace segments of the esophagus in rats. All rats survived and after two weeks the researchers found indications of the major components in the regenerated graft: epithelium, muscle cells, blood vessels and nerves.
"We believe that these very promising findings represent major advances toward the clinical translation of tissue engineered esophagi," said Dr. Macchiarini.
Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology