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Artificial cartilage growing in a bioreactor

Artificial cartilage growing in a bioreactor

M580/0184

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Credit

SAM OGDEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SAM OGDEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Artificial cartilage. Bioreactor containing discs of artificial cartilage. Using this device, pieces of cartilage can be grown to replace the worn coverings of joints or to rebuild features like noses or ears after injury. Chondrocytes (cartilage cells) are placed onto a loose three- dimensional polymer scaffold and put into a culture medium in the bioreactor. Rotation of the bioreactor's drum ensures that all the cells receive enough nutrients and the cartilage forms evenly. Once placed into the body, the polymer dissolves, leaving only the cartilage. The growth of tissues and organs from cultured cells would end the need for tissue and organ donors.

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