Advances in Myogenic Bioreactor Technology

David Remer

Biomechanical signals are massively important for developing muscle cells. Cyclic mechanical stretch alters the phenotypic characteristics of muscle progenitor cells (MPCs), and perhaps more importantly, significantly improves functional muscle regeneration when engineered constructs are implanted in biologically relevant rodent models of volumetric muscle loss (VML) injury. Thus bioreactor preconditioning is an integral portion of our tissue-engineered muscle implant manufacturing protocol.

The actual device was custom designed for the Christ Lab, and utilizes linear stepper motor technology to accomplish cyclic stretching for eight scaffolds at a time while being durable enough to endure sterilizations and constant use. We are currently working on developing in-house manufacturing capabilities, thus assuring complete control over all of our products. Digital control for the bioreactor is via an in-house designed microcontroller-based system called the BrC (US Patent Pending).

Development of the next generation bioreactor is being undertaken by a capstone team consisting of Jon Taylor-Fishwick, Andrew Portell, and Josh Glazier. These advances are projected to include real-time strain tracking and video monitoring for each scaffold being treated in the bioreactor.