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Transforming Health Care with Nuclear Techniques: An IAEA Coordinated Research Project Concludes

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Participants of the CRP 'Instructive Surfaces and Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering Using Radiation Technology'. (Photo: IAEA)

Scientific and technical interest in using radiation technology for producing artificial tissues is growing. Earlier this year, the IAEA concluded a five-year Coordinated Research Project (CRP) entitled Instructive Surfaces and Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering Using Radiation Technology.

“The project provided a framework for experts worldwide to further develop the engineering of artificial tissues using nuclear techniques and to identify the tools necessary towards the transition to regenerative medicine,” said Oleg Belyakov, Radiation Biologist with the IAEA.

Monica Beatriz Mathor, Researcher at the Centro de Tecnologia das Radiaçõe in Brazil, added, “Tissue engineering is poised to transform health care by shifting the focus of treatment from addressing the symptoms, roots and causes of diseases to repair and regeneration”.

Regenerative medicine involving cell therapy is an emerging field that combines the knowledge and expertise of diverse disciplines to restore impaired tissue and organ functions in the body. Tissue engineering is applied in regenerative medicine mainly to repair and replace tissues. This can find application to form new bone, skin, cartilage, muscle (for example, for treating heart damage after myocardial infarction) and neural tissues (for example, for treating Parkinson’s disease). Other applications include:

  • fundamental research;
  • biosensor development;
  • cosmetic enhancement and alteration;
  • tissue systems capable of in vitro biological molecule production, such as hormones.

“This CRP is a good example of cross-cutting activities and brought together different disciplines, such as chemistry, biology and engineering,” said Bum Soo Han, Radiation Chemist with the IAEA.

“Radiation technologies are playing a key role in speeding up the development of tissue engineering by addressing some of its main challenges and opportunities, such as preparation and optimization of instructive scaffolds, surface grafting, inhibition of cell growth in stem cell feeder layers and sterilization,” said Janusz Rosiak, Professor at the Lodz University of Technology in Poland, another participant in the CRP.  

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