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[IP] Living tissue to be hot off the printer
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And do keep in mind, folks, using this technology to grow organs is
still quite a ways off, but it does give another avenue that might
Living Tissue to Be Hot Off the Printer
Wed January 22, 2003 02:46 PM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists are turning to desktop printers in an
effort to produce three dimensional tubes of living tissue and
possibly even entire organs.
Instead of using a degradable scaffold and covering it with cells to
produce tissue, scientists in the United States are modifying ink jet
printers and using cells to create 3D structures.
"The work is a first step toward printing complex tissues or even
entire organs," New Scientist magazine said on Wednesday.
Although producing organs is a very long way away, many laboratories
are printing arrays of DNA, proteins and even cells.
Vladimir Mironov, of the Medical University of South Carolina, and
Thomas Boland, of Clemson University in the same state, have used a
non-toxic, biodegradable gel and animal cells to make the structures.
"By printing alternate layers of the gel and clumps of cells on to
glass slides, they have shown 3D structures such as tubes can be
built," according to the magazine.
If the layers are thin enough the cells fuse when they come in
contact with each other and bits of tissue are formed. When the
structure is finished the gel can be removed.
"Like printing with different colors, placing different types of
cells in the ink cartridges should make it possible to recreate
complex structures consisting of multiple cells," the magazine
But before scientists can produce organs they will have to solve the
problem of creating circulatory networks to provide oxygen and
nutrients to the cells in the structures.
But the scientists hope it will be possible.
"This could have the same kind of impact that Gutenberg's press did,"
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