Mind the Zap: Using Electricity to Grow Blood Vessels

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red vessels surround blue cells

Arnav Chhabra, Edward Kah Wei Tan, Keval Vyas, Girish Rughoobur, Sangeeta N. Bhatia

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red vessels surround blue cells

Arnav Chhabra, Edward Kah Wei Tan, Keval Vyas, Girish Rughoobur, Sangeeta N. Bhatia
Koch Institute at MIT

Vasculature plays an important role in the development of tumors. Cancer cells give off chemical signals to recruit blood vessels, which in turn deliver critical nutrients to the tumor.

Taking inspiration from cancer cells, the Bhatia Lab uses electrical fields to fabricate a network of blood vessels (red) around engineered mini-livers (cyan). The resulting vasculature efficiently transports nutrients to the mini-organs, promoting their long-term survival and demonstrating the ‘shocking’ potential of electrical stimulation to improve both transplant technology and cell-based therapies.

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Arnav Chhabra shares the story behind his award-winning image.