Study of the impact of glycation on ALS using an in vitro tissue-engineered model of spinal cord
Tissue engineering is a process that was originally designed and continues to be used for growing cells outside the body, turning them into functional tissues and organs, and applying them for clinical use. Skin grafting and developing new organs for transplant are examples of how tissue engineering are used as a part of modern medical science. However, the technique can also be used in a laboratory setting to provide a model of parts in the human body that can more closely mimic disease in a 3D setting. Through a 2015 Discovery Grant, Dr. François Berthod of Université Laval aims to develop and characterize a tissue engineered 3D model of ALS that will mimic the structure and cell-to-cell interactions of a functional human spinal cord. Furthermore, Dr. Berthod will examine if it is possible to form connections between motor neurons and muscle into a functional connection by addition of muscle cells to the culture. Successful development will allow study of cells important to ALS and their interactions in a much more natural way than in traditional cell cultures and it would open up numerous new avenues to study the disease that didn`t previous exist. To further characterize this model, Dr. Berthod will also examine the ability for a specific stress called glycation in attempt to see if it can mimic ALS effects in the culture and potentially worsen the condition.
François Berthod , CRCHUQ, Enfant-Jesus, University Laval
Partners and Donors
ALS Society of Canada