Faculty of Engineering
Turkish scientists are working on developing ‘artificial tendon’
Asst. Prof. Burçak Alp, faculty member of Izmir University of Economics, who started to focus her scientific studies on tendon due to an injury she had in her tendon during her doctoral studies in England, plans to develop “artificial tendon” in the next 2 years. After graduating from Department of Food Engineering, Hacettepe University, Asst. Prof. Burçak Alp went to England for PhD education in 1998. Asst. Prof. Alp, who started as a research assistant at Department of Tissue Engineering, University College London, decided to work in this field due to a tendon injury she had. Working with a group of scientists, Asst. Prof. Alp produced collagen from ostrich legs. The scientific team got a patent for that collagen in England during that period. Asst. Prof. Alp, who returned to Turkey in 2014 and started to work at Department of Biomedical Engineering, Izmir University of Economics (IUE), aims to develop artificial tendon with Prof. Murat Bengisu and Asst. Prof. Işınay Ebru Yüzay in 2 years. Asst. Prof. Alp said, "When treating tendon injuries, a piece of tendon from a healthy tissue is transferred into the injured part. This results in having an extra surgery, stress about surgery, and pain for the patient. There is also no guarantee that the transferred part will work. Therefore, we aim to develop artificial tendon in a lab setting in 2 years.” Asst. Prof. Alp stated that their goal was to combine the collagen they produced with the 3D bioprint technology thus creating the material that would form the basis of the tendon in a lab setting and produce an artificial tendon with the addition of the cells. He said that he taught her students about 3D bioprint method, and they planned to obtain tendon alike material after a 2-year study.
"Our study is very comprehensive"
Stating that she wants to continue the study that she started in England, in Turkey as well, Asst. Prof. Alp said, "This study is very comprehensive. I always planned about coming back to Turkey. In fact, there are many scientists who would want to come back to Turkey when given the appropriate opportunities.” Prof. Murat Bengisu, who provides support to Asst. Prof. Alp, indicated that they plan to obtain tendon from collagen via bio printing method. Prof. Bengisu stated that scientists had been working on 3D bioprint systems for a long time. "The upside of this method is being able to obtain a structure just as in the nature, starting from a small structure to increasingly growing one. Printing with cells started now. This is what we are working on,” said Prof. Murat Bengisu.
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