UCF awarded $329K grant
Researchers aim to regrow failing organs
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 16:09
UCF scientists Kiminobu Sugaya of the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences and Aristide Dogariu of the College of Optics and Photonics have been presented a $329,764 grant from the National Science Foundation for research that may help patients regrow organs that are failing them.
Sugaya and Dogariu are working to cultivate a noninvasive technique for regulating the motion of cells. The study is called “Optical Control of Cellular Biomechanics.”
Because of the research being conducted, a patient with an unhealthy heart may one day be able to produce a replacement organ from adult stem cells harvested from their own body.
“If the coronary artery of the heart, a blood vessel, is clogged, the heart muscle dies. We can recreate this blood vessel and artery for the heart using this technology,” Sugaya said.
The study will allow the scientists to use a special type of laser to construct blood vessels from adult stem cells that have been taken from blood. The laser guides protein molecules inside the cells, strategically placing them in the correct location within each layer to form a blood vessel.
This study differs a great deal from any study that has been done before. In the past, scientists used artificial structures to support tissue formation, Sugaya said. They decided to use a laser with a less powerful light to decrease the possibility of destroying or damaging the cells during the process.
Although the research was intended to aid a diseased heart, the study may potentially assist people suffering from other life-threatening diseases.
“Diabetic patients are losing the blood circulation and supply to their limbs. For example, the fingertips may start dying. Using this technology, we can recreate the blood vessel in the way we want, so it may be helpful to diabetic patients,” Sugaya said.