Implanting one's own living tissue, with implants contained inside?

Hi just had and idea spring to mind but it relies on a concept that i'm not to familiar with. would you be able to take ones own tissue, grow it in a lab however you needed it and reimplant it with a implant tucked into said tissue? with this method of tucking or connecting an implant to the tissue grown outside the body would you be able to make external implants and join them to the flesh of someone? thanks in advance for any answer's on this. 


  • Oh, wow, the mental images got nasty pretty quickly. I'm bored, so I'll try to touch on some relevant parts.

    1.0 - "Growing Ones Tissue In A Lab"

    Theoretically, yes. Human tissue can and is grown in laboratory conditions for a variety of reasons (most commonly for grafts to repair damaged areas of a patient's body), but the conditions needed aren't terribly easy.  These issues increase as the sample's volume increases (either due to the size of the original sample or growth after the fact).

    1.1 - "Blood, What It Is A' Good For"

    Since you're presumably not going to be keeping your Lil Buddy (tm) in a vat of blood, you'll need a solution that can provide both oxygen and nutrition to the tissues.  These exist, but I don't know off the top of my head what they are. 

    1.2 - "I Got 99 Problems"

    The simple logistics of this will make the most expensive and difficult to manage aquarium you can imagine look like a pet rock.  There's also things to take into consideration like a sterile environment, lingering viral infections (no more immune system for Lil Buddy once you cut him off), yadda yadda. So while all of this is logistically possible, there's a reason why you don't see much abut it. Moving on!

    2.0 - "How To Make A Meat Envelope"

    This is where we get into some Meatball Machine level weirdness.  Not that you've got all this "you" sitting around in jars, how exactly do we start sticking things in it?  Weeeeell...

    2.1 - "So About That"

    Even after you cut it off from you, your meat is still your meat.  I something isn't biocompatible with you, it's going to be just as problematic with Lil Buddy.  It isn't going to be helpful for anything like that, so i'm going to gloss over it.

    2.2 - "What It Is A' Good For 2 - Electric Boogaloo"

    I've been trying to think of some good uses for this.  Perhaps if you used a tissue type with a broad range of compatibility?  I briefly wondered about an implant that had an abnormal shape (perhaps one that would hinder post-implant healing), or a coating which allows tissue to adhere directly (seems like SOMEONE is working on something like that).  One of the major problems is that all you are doing is taking a regular implant (payload, chassis, biosafe seal) and adding an extra layer of meat on it before shoving it in.  I can't actually think of a reason to do that.

    3.0 - "Closing Statements"

    It's obviously been an interesting thought exercise for me (Probably just me), but I can't think of a reason why this would be recommended.  Adding an organic coating on top of an implant doesn't have any tangible benefit, probably a few drawbacks, and would be an astronomically expensive undertaking.
  • edited December 2015
    well while it may be astronomically expensive i was really just wondering if it was possible to do, like at all as it was just plaguing my thoughts recently and from what you've said it seem's doable with a big an expensive lab setup, not likely something a typical grinder could do.
    to be honest i was wondering more about attaching living flesh made from your own tissue? is that possible at all? 

     anyway's thanks for the info mate 
  • Like I said, yes and no. Grafts have gotten to the point where you can lab-grow a replacement nose or ear (usually on a biocompatible lattice that mimics cartilage), but there's a whole host of issues involved with it (most of the cases have had the graft grown on another part of the body like the back of the hand, or even on something like a rat). It's some of the most advanced surgery currently done, and a large part of the issue is establishing bloodflow to the region. Re-joining or generation of nerves is also in it's infancy, so there isn't likely to be sensation in the region.
  • no. people who get a skin graft with a different color (say a black person gets white skin) the original skin will take over the new skin over time, and thats the goal of it. Your body will bond to it, and happy keep it alive and replace the dead cells inside, meaning that within a few months your implant would be in your body directly and you will get the same terrible effects as just shoving electronics inside. So no you cant do this, it will just delay the rejection for a short time.
  • edited December 2015
    again, im more so interested in "implanting" external implants, eg adding to the body rather then plain old forceing a piece of metal (or any other kind of implant for that matter) into tissue. i was wondering more so about if you could graft almost external body parts, for example flesh for web'd fingers or other attachments- and would those things reject? (keep in mind i wouldn't exactly want webed fingers and that was just the best example i could come up with) i pretty much want to know if you can attach things to the human body but still have them external

    and to benbeezy, how long would the rejection be delayed? sure it would be a pointless procedure in the long run (most likely) but as its made from ones own tissue and essentially making a premade "pocket in it", and i guess in this instance replace the tissue in your arm with say the tissue in the lab with whatever implant you want, how would the rejection fair?

  • Actually, I think this IS the way to do it. It's something I've been working on in my lab space. So, here's the thing with trying to pull off nerve interfacing like Warwick did.. it requires someone skilled enough to feel comfortable working around a nerve like the median nerve and it will inevitably fail r/t glial scar formation or the like.

    Stimulation is no problem.. if something like glial scar material gets thick you can simply turn up the amplitude of the signal. Now, in terms of the receiving portion of your circuit.. there's nothing that can be done really. You can filter the signal better or make your probe more sensitive or whatever but at some point.. that it. How can we get around this? Well, if we had isolated neurons grown right into an array, we could prevent the glial scar types of stuff from happening and we could locate the neurons right on top of our sensors. The thing is.. if it's some randomly selected cell line our body will reject it or worse. Worse because... immortalized cell line are essentially cancer. But no, they will be rejected. Unless.. it's our own cell.

    Collecting the cells is not an issue. Neural crest type cells can be scraped right out of your nose and isolated. Pricey? Well yes. A lack of funds is essentially what's stopping me but it's not so far out that it can't be done.

    In terms of getting the nervous system to "incorporate" these implanted cells? Well, there are some really interesting potential ways of doing this. We can chemically induce this to occur.
  • well damn i didn't expect such an in depth answer! what would the potential sensory uses of these types of these types of "connected nervous cells be"? would a person be able to gain voluntary movement through those cells with this type of technology (due to it being connected through the nervous system)? how exactly would this form an immortalized cell line? and just as a general question due to curiosity how expensive would this all be to set up and do (just an estimate) but no this is extremely interesting to me 

  • Gain voluntary movement... Could you define that a bit more? I know what voluntary movement means, but im trying to imagine how it relates to hardware being involved.

    And I think his point was you wouldn't have an immortalized cell line, but just your normal cells. So it would not form immortalized cells.

    Cost is difficult. Do you have a space? Do you have access to liquid nitrogen and CO2? Are you going from the very get go? In that case you are looking at 30k or more. Just the cost of space and hardware.

    @Cassox, I've been thinking about this, and I think you would definitely need to go with the "ghost" scaffold system and build up from that. The thing is, I have no idea what the scaffold for a neural mesh would look like. Making an arbitrary scaffold may work, but it also may cause weird growth, the way that 2d cells get all creepy cancer esque when they start bulking.

    Making a clustered organoid might work too, but so much cellular action is based on physical structure, you would probably have some weird results. on the other hand, you could harvest the cells without having to remove them from a substrate, which save you from messing up a lot of the adhesion and the network itself.

  • Could you just coat it in hypodermis cells? It seems like having some organic material on there already would mean much faster healing, especially for smaller implants near the surface. Not in a lump, just a thin layer. Healing quickly would also mean less chance of rejection.
  • While it may work, it's simply not worth the increased risk and cost. The effort would be better put into better coatings and better technique.
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