Science | Shaping cells to mature together
Tissue engineering requires the use of degradable scaffolds that provide temporary support and an architectural guide that controls the initial growth and proliferation of seeded cells to form a desired tissue. Vrij et al. develop a more general approach in which cellular aggregates progressively fuse and assemble to form tissues. By controlling the general shape of the well into which the cells or clusters are seeded, they introduce anisotropy into both the shape of the growing objects and in deformation upon compaction. This encourages the formation of a primitive vasculature and self-scaffolding as the final tissue is assembled from the smaller building blocks.