Where’s Pavlov when you need him? Progress and challenges in salivary gland tissue engineering

Daniel Harrington
Department of Diagnostic & Biomedical Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston (UTHealth)
Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 12:00pm
CCBR Red Room
Departmental Seminar
Patients with head and neck cancer typically receive radiation therapy as part of their treatment. Although highly effective in reducing the cancer burden, such therapy concurrently induces death of the nearby salivary glands, and ultimately leads to xerostomia, or “dry mouth” in these patients. With no effective salivary substitutes available, these cancer survivors face a poor bargain: extend their lives without a looming threat of cancer, but accept the significant oral decay and difficulty in eating and speaking, associated with lost salivary flow. From a tissue engineering perspective, the salivary gland offers an intriguing challenge: how can we produce a branched, hollow structure, with gradients of cell and matrix along its length, and functional integration into nervous and vascular systems? My talk will present our ongoing work with modified hyaluronan-based hydrogels to support the three-dimensional culture and organization of human primary salivary-derived stem/progenitor cell populations.
Professor Eli Sone
IBBME Visiting Lecture