A double-chamber rotating bioreactor for the development of tissue-engineered hollow organs: From concept to clinical trial

M. Adelaide Asnaghi, Philipp Jungebluth, Manuela T. Raimondi, Sally C. Dickinson, Louisa E N Rees, Tetsuhiko Go, Tristan A. Cogan, Amanda Dodson, Pier Paolo Parnigotto, Anthony P. Hollander, Martin A. Birchall, Maria Teresa Conconi, Paolo Macchiarini, Sara Mantero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Cell and tissue engineering are now being translated into clinical organ replacement, offering alternatives to fight morbidity, organ shortages and ethico-social problems associated with allotransplantation. Central to the recent first successful use of stem cells to create an organ replacement in man was our development of a bioreactor environment. Critical design features were the abilities to drive the growth of two different cell types, to support 3D maturation, to maintain biomechanical and biological properties and to provide appropriate hydrodynamic stimuli and adequate mass transport. An analytical model was developed and applied to predict oxygen profiles in the bioreactor-cultured organ construct and in the culture media, comparing representative culture configurations and operating conditions. Autologous respiratory epithelial cells and mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs, then differentiated into chondrocytes) were isolated, characterized and expanded. Both cell types were seeded and cultured onto a decellularized human donor tracheal matrix within the bioreactor. One year post-operatively, graft and patient are healthy, and biopsies confirm angiogenesis, viable epithelial cells and chondrocytes. Our rotating double-chamber bioreactor permits the efficient repopulation of a decellularized human matrix, a concept that can be applied clinically, as demonstrated by the successful tracheal transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5260-5269
Number of pages10
Issue number29
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Airway transplantation
  • Bioreactor
  • Co-culture
  • Oxygenation
  • Stem cells
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Biophysics


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