Lab-grown tissues for the development of personalised therapies

Researchers at Loughborough University are bio-engineering musculoskeletal tissues to develop personalised therapies, allow ethical testing of new drugs and supplements, and provide a method of replacing injured or diseased tissues with healthy tissue made from your own cells.

A common side-effect of severe musculoskeletal injury or disease is the loss of functional tissue. Replacing this damaged tissue can be achieved via exercise or surgical interventions e.g. muscle grafts. However, as the severity of the damage increases, the feasibility of replacing this tissue via these methods becomes more challenging. So, what is the alternative?

Our research aims to bio-engineer musculoskeletal tissues in the lab, grown from your own cells, that can provide an alternative source of replacement tissue.

To do this, we use specially designed equipment to electrically and mechanically load our tissues – like undergoing a personalised gym regime – to fast track the tissues development so they are ready for use immediately. We can monitor in real time how these tissues respond to this gym regime, see how certain drugs might affect the tissues behaviour, or investigate how implantation may affect the progression of disease.

This could open up exciting possibilities for personalised rehabilitation and the development of new clinical interventions, with the outputs tailored exactly to each individual.

This research is currently funded by:

  • NC3Rs (The National Centre of the Replacement Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research)
  • BBSRC (The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences research Council)
  • NRC (The National Rehabilitation Centre)

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Andrew Capel

Dr Andrew Capel

Lecturer in Bioengineering

Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Mark Lewis

Professor Mark Lewis

Professor of Musculoskeletal Biology

Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences