Cell and Tissue Engineering

Cell and tissue engineering has the potential to change how we think about disease and aging is happening at BME. Regenerative medicine uses stem cells and biomaterials to repair, replace or regenerate damaged tissue, organ structures and function.

Check out the case studies below to learn about the exciting research done here at BME:

Biomaterials

Milica Radasic in a lab with graduate student
Growing heart and liver tissue for safer drug testing and more

Professor Milica Radisic’s team works on growing human tissue in artificial environments as platforms for developing and testing new drugs, and with the potential to one day, repair or replace damaged organs.

Their creations have included Biowire™, a method of growing heart cells around a silk suture, “Hook-in-Tissue,” a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together like Velcro®, and AngioChip, a system built in a normal cell culture dish that allows lab-grown heart and liver tissue to function and interact like the real thing.

Today, the team is already working on commercializing these technologies through TARA Biosystems Inc., a spinoff company co-founded by Radisic.

Tissue Engineering

Portrait of Craig Simmons
Advancing treatments for heart failure

Professor Craig Simmons leads an interdisciplinary team of eight researchers and their students from U of T Engineering, Medicine and Dentistry to advance discoveries and accelerate new treatments for heart failure and cardiovascular disease.

As the scientific director of the Translational Biology & Engineering Program (TBEP), the U of T arm of the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research (TRCHR), he brings together experts in engineering and medicine to uncover mechanisms of disease, develop new diagnostic tests for early detection, and create therapeutic strategies using molecules, cells and biomaterials to regenerate heart tissues.

The goal: improve the lives of one million Canadians with heart failure and reduce the estimated $3-billion cost to our health-care system.

Regenerative Medicine

Molly Shoichet and Penney Gilbert conversing in hallway
Designing regenerative medicine to treat degenerative diseases

More than 100 researchers from the University of Toronto and its partner hospitals are collaborating as part of U of T’s Medicine by Design initiative to enhance fundamental discoveries and develop new therapies to treat degenerative diseases.

Led by University Professor Michael Sefton with a historic $114-million grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, this initiative fosters multidisciplinary collaboration among engineers, scientists and clinicians to solidify Canada’s position as a leader in regenerative medicine, cell therapy discovery and translation.

Read more news about cell & tissue engineering

Milica Radisic joins Donnelly Centre

September 19, 2022 | The Donnelly Centre is swelling its ranks of leading researchers with two new faculty appointments.

New strategy for delivery of therapeutic proteins could help treat degenerative eye diseases

August 18, 2022 | A U of T Engineering research team has created a new platform that delivers multiple therapeutic proteins to the body, each at its own independently controlled rate. The innovation could help treat degenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss for people over 50.

U of T Engineering team designs new hydrogel that opens pathways to more targeted cancer treatments

July 28, 2022 | A team of U of T Engineering researchers, led by Professor Molly Shoichet (ChemE, BME, Donnelly), has designed a new way to grow cells in a laboratory that enables them to better emulate cancerous tumours.

Reverse engineering the heart: U of T Engineering team creates bioartificial left ventricle

July 8, 2022 | U of T Engineering researchers have grown a small-scale model of a human left heart ventricle in the lab. The bioartificial tissue construct is made with living heart cells and beats strongly enough to pump fluid inside a bioreactor.

Portrait of Michael Garton

A Leap into the Future: Assistant Professor Michael Garton on the promise of synthetic biology

June 21, 2022 | The Leap into the Future series looks at emerging areas or aspects of regenerative medicine.

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