Year 4 NCE
This CIRM award has enabled the construction of a multimodal imaging platform for simultaneous fluorescence lifetime imaging and ultrasound or optical coherence tomography. The instrument is fiberoptic-based and can be used to study biochemical, structural and functional features in the inner wall of vascular constructs in situ and non-destructively. The imaging platform has been coupled to a home-built bioreactor that allows for continuous optical monitoring of scaffold recellularization and extracellular matrix remodeling under distinct flow conditions.
We have validated the ability of the imaging platform to resolve endothelial cells and mesenchymal stem cells as they migrate on bovine pericardium, a highly collagenous scaffold, and to resolve different compositions of the extracellular matrix (collagen and elastin) on different tissue types. The work first performed in vitro in 2D was later translated to 3D thanks to the completion of the bioreactor that allows to perform studies under physiologically relevant conditions. The next step, which this CIRM award has allowed us to evaluate, is the translation of the imaging platform to in vivo applications that permits the evaluation of graft development in large animals (e.g. swine).
In summary, the CIRM award has enabled the development of an multimodal imaging technology that allows for continuous monitoring of tissue remodeling and regeneration processes and for future testing treatments in situ, in test dishes, in bioreactors with distinct environmental conditions, and in vivo in large animal models (e.g. implanted scaffolds). The nondestructive nature of this imaging platform will enable continuous monitoring of tissue development with instant feedback, which will optimize clinical outcomes and will contribute to the development of more cost-effective tissue engineering strategies.