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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P031137/2
Title: MechAscan - A novel online mechanical assessment tool for manufacturing engineered tissues in regenerative medicine and drug discovery.
Principal Investigator: El Haj, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Yang, Professor Y
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr Y Reinwald
Project Partners:
Department: Chemical Engineering
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 September 2018 Ends: 31 January 2021 Value (£): 305,316
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Development (Biosciences) Manufact. Enterprise Ops& Mgmt
Tissue engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Healthcare
Related Grants:
EP/P031218/1 EP/P031250/1
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The proportion of people around the world aged over 60 years is growing faster than any other age group, as a result of longer life expectancy. This population ageing can be seen as a success story for public health policies and for socioeconomic development, but it places a challenge on medicine and, within the UK, the NHS to maximize the health and functional capacity of older people. Regenerative Medicine is one potential solution for this longer life and healthy lifestyle, providing cell based therapies which can replace damaged or diseased tissues. Growing replacement tissues is bringing exciting novel solutions which now require new manufacturing methods and processes to enable the translation to the clinic. Bioreactors are mechanical devices that provide controlled growth environments for engineered tissues and mimic the physical forces cells and tissues experience in the body. Monitoring the maturation of tissue implants during culture, and prior to implantation into the patient, is important for defining optimum manufacturing criteria and for their clinical success. Key properties that tissue engineered implants must display include strength and durability. To infer material properties from imaging, new non-destructive, three-dimensional imaging techniques are needed, that can be used to provide accurate results efficiently at both the manufacturing site and the clinic. In this proposal, our partners have linked the imaging technique, optical coherence elastography, with a hydrostatic pressure bioreactor to create a novel imaging solution, MechAscan, which allows real-time mechanical characterisation and simultaneous physical stimulation of engineered tissue implants. MechAscan will provide a clear advantage over currently available traditional mechanical testing approaches and elastography techniques, which require direct contact of the mechanical load with the sample and are destructive. Additionally, MechAscan can be used for real-time monitoring of mechanical properties as the construct is grown in culture in a sterile growth environment. Our aim is to develop a novel technology platform allowing real-time and non-destructive monitoring of tissue engineered products in a sterile growth environment to avoid construct to construct variation during manufacturing and allow the translation of regenerative medicine constructs with known properties into the clinic. To facilitate uptake in use of the technology and translation to the clinic, we propose to fully test and validate the MechAscan technology in an interdisciplinary approach combining bioreactor technology, biomaterials science, physics and mathematics.

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Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk