Creation of In Vitro Thick 3D Vascularized Skeletal Muscle Tissue for the Production of Cultured Meat
New Harvest Research Fellow: Abigail Glencross (MEng Chemical Engineering; University of Bath)
Project End Date: May 2017
Project Duration: Full time; Three years funded; One year optional extra for completion.
Institutes: Kings College, London; Maastricht, NL
Supervisors: Dr. Mark Post (Professor of Vascular Physiology; Maastricht University); Dr. Lucy Di-Silvio (Cell Biologist; Kings College London)
The University of Maastricht has proved from adult bovine skeletal muscle stem cells it is possible to create edible cultured meat in a self-organised cell culture. This thin tissue (<0.5mm) can then be utilised to form ‘processed’ meats. These meats are fashioned from offcuts of the farming industry, however the vast environmental and ethical impacts of conventional meat are derived from whole primary animal products e.g. steak. In order to mitigate these negative effects thick 3D tissue must be produced. This requires synthetic vascularization to successfully facilitate oxygen and nutrient flow to, and metabolite removal from, the innermost cells to prevent necrosis. Currently self-organised tissues are limited by diffusional mass transport of these elements, and novel concepts of sustaining the innermost cells of >0.5mm tissues must be addressed.
On May 1, 2017 New Harvest discontinued the research conducted by Abi Glencross at King's College London.
A variety of situational factors made this project no longer an effective use of donor dollars. Some of the reasons for discontinuing this work include 1) an ambitious project that was not meeting the proposed timeline 2) challenges of the Research Fellow addressing a more unconventional approach to tissue engineering, 3) inadequate research support in this new field from the existing scientific community. New Harvest has made several improvements to the Fellowship program based on following the progress of this project. You can read our blog post about how and why we came to the decision to close Abi's research project here.