Optoceutics: controlling regenerative cells using visual light.

For the first time, the research group from Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) in Milan proposed an innovative strategy to gain optical control of epithelial regenerative cells by using visible light together with photo-sensitive and bio-compatible conjugated polymers used as photo-actuators. This research is published in Science Advances.

In this study, the researchers managed to effectively promote the in vitro cellular growth and differentiation to new blood vessels by using photoactive materials as cellular substrates and by stimulating them with short pulses of visible light. They demonstrated that polymer-mediated optical excitation induces a robust enhancement of proliferation and lumen formation in vitro.

Implications of the study include the development of a novel method to control of regenerative cells using visible light. This method provides alternatives to currently researched and available electromechanical and chemical stimulation approaches.