Implantable Living Pharmacy 5

Implantable Living Pharmacy 5

William J. Jeang

Koch Institute at MIT

This image displays an implantable living pharmacy wherein implanted cells absorb nutrients from the patient’s body and in turn secrete therapeutics such as insulin for diabetes. The implant comprises cells (glowing dots) dispersed within the pores of a novel spongey material. The sponge is specially engineered to rapidly percolate oxygen throughout the entire structure, like how air ducts deliver air to different rooms in a building. This enhanced oxygen supply throughout the implant can support a higher density of healthy cells by reducing competition for limited nutrients, effectively reducing the surgical footprint.

I took this image to confirm that cells were able to be successfully seeded and retained within the material scaffold. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the fluorescent micrographs of the cells were simultaneously able to detect the microstructure of the scaffold, without having to use additional techniques such as phase contrast or scanning electron microscopy.

cells (in green) disperse against a black background

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