BERLIN, GERMANY – JANUARY 16: Kanzi apples from Germany lie on display at a stand at the International Green Week agricultural trade fair (Internationale Gruene Woche) on January 16, 2015 in Berlin, Germany.
(Photo : Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Biophysicist Andrew Pelling of University of Ottawa has turned an apple into a structure that can grow human tissue.
The technique can be useful in the field of regenerative medicine, particularly as a method for repairing human tissue.
Pelling shared at the TED conference in Vancouver February last year that his idea was not supported by many when it first came out.
“Nobody else is doing this. In fact, in the early days people thought I’d lost my mind,” Pelling said. “What I’m really curious about is if one day it will be possible to repair, rebuild, and augment our own bodies with stuff we make in the kitchen.”
Pelling, a former hacker turned bioengineer made use of the cellulose structure of an apple and replaced the Macintosh apple cells with that of human cells.
Business Insider noted the step-by-step process of how Pelling did the fruity experiment.
To start the process of removing the apple’s cells, the apple was bathed in boiled water and liquid dish soap. The hot temperature and soap caused the apple cells to pop open. The apple was then washed with clean water to expel the cellular material.
What was then left is the apple’s skeletal structure — the cellulose scaffolding which makes the apple firm and crunchy.
The scaffolding was carved into the shape of human ears and human cells were placed in the gaps where the apple’s cellular materials were once contained.
CBC reported that the experiment had been tested on mice, noting that after injecting the cellulose scaffolding on its skin, the scaffold slowly became part of the mice tissue. Little immune reaction was also observed, which makes it promising.
Meanwhile, trials in humans are still far in consideration as its still in its early developmental stage.
Currently, Pelling and his team are also working on Pelling the biomaterial potential of asparagus’ and rose’s cellulose scaffolding to repair bone or nerve damage in the future.
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