Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

3D Bioengineered Internal Anal Sphincter(IAS)

Technology #2957

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Khalil Bitar
Managed By
Tiefei Dong
Senior Licensing Specialist, Life Sciences 734-763-5332
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending


Fecal incontinence affects people of all ages and social backgrounds and can have devastating psychological and economic consequences. This disorder largely attributed to decreased mechanical efficiency of the internal anal sphincter (IAS), yet little is known about the pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for the malfunction of sphincteric smooth muscle at the cellular level. Two dimensional cell culture provides few options to study contractile force production as a cellular function. Although it is well known that physiological functions of tissues are retained when three-dimensional structure is kept intact, however many limitations remain in explanted tissue such as short-term viability, rapid degradation, easy damage caused by dissection and etc. Thus, tissue engineering has emerged as a valuable tool that applies the principles of engineering and life sciences toward the development of biological models with characteristics similar to those observed in vivo.


This invention describes how to bioengineer a ring of gastrointestinal smooth muscle sphincter, which responds functionally and may be used in the elucidation of the mechanisms causing sphincter malfunction.

Applications and Advantages


  • This invention provides the opportunity-nl-to test the effects of various pharmacological-nl-agents, growth factors, and mechanical-nl-interventions on smooth muscle function.
  • This invention may be used in the elucidation-nl-of the mechanisms causing smooth myogenic-nl-sphincter malfunction as well as the-nl-investigation of treatments for fecal incontinence.


  • This is the first model of a bioengineered-nl-ring of gastrointestinal smooth muscle sphincter.
  • This is the first report of a functional in vitro model of the IAS.