Researchers from Washington University developed an innovative method of tissue regeneration using artificial intelligence (AI). In a new study conducted in the David Baker laboratory in cooperation with Hannel Ruokhola-Baker, AI was used to create protein molecules that stimulate the activity of the fibroblast growth receptor (FGFR). This discovery can be an important step in the development of regenerative medicine and the treatment of various diseases.

Fundamentals of the study

FGFR is a key protein that plays an important role in the development of blood vessels, healing of wounds, and the growth of cancer cells. Control over its activity can help in the treatment of cancer, by stopping the blood supply to tumors, as well as in acceleration of recovery after serious physical injuries.

The team of scientists used AI to create various ring protein molecules called oligomers that can control the FGFR signals. These structures, resembling windmills, stars, or butterflies, were tested on human pluripotent stem cells. The results showed that oligomers successfully transformed stem cells into different types of cells that make up blood vessels.

Results and prospects

Oligomers also contributed to the creation of regenerative tissues. In the experiment, one of the oligomers, combined with another chemical substance, stimulated stem cells to self-organization in 3D organoids of blood vessels. When transplanting into mice, these organoids successfully integrated with the circulatory system of animals.

Dr. Hannel Ruokhola-Baker noted: “In heart attacks, diabetes, and the natural aging process, we accumulate damage in the tissues of the body. One way to correct some of these is to stimulate the formation of new blood vessels in areas where it is necessary to restore a healthy blood supply.”

Potential use

AI allowed scientists to create proteins that effectively regulate the FGFR signals and direct stem cells to the path of turning into functional blood vessels.

/Reports, release notes, official announcements.