*NEWS*NEW PAPER ADVANCES ORGAN PRINTING

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*NEWS*NEW PAPER ADVANCES ORGAN PRINTING

 user 2005-11-22 at 11:05:00 am Views: 91
  • #13327

    New Paper Advances Organ Printing
    Nov.
    2005- Thin sheets of a gel-like material could help advance organ
    printing, a technology that uses a printer and cell-laden ink to turn
    out living tissues, blood vessels and organs.
    The research, reported
    in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters, represents a new model
    for this branch of tissue engineering and could benefit the millions of
    people worldwide who suffer from damage to organs such as kidneys and
    livers.
    “It’s basically enabling part of the technology. If you
    don’t have a good bio-paper and bio-ink, you’re not going to get
    anywhere,” said Glenn Prestwich, presidential professor at the
    University of Utah.
    Prestwich collaborated on the research with
    scientists from the University of Missouri and the Medical University
    of South Carolina.
    The idea behind organ printing is relatively
    simple: print cells onto thin sheets of biodegradable paper; stack
    thousands of sheets of the paper on top of each other; when the paper
    disintegrates, the cells will be left intact to form a
    three-dimensional shape, such as a hollow blood vessel.
    Until now,
    scientists have tried different materials to use as the paper,
    including agarose, which is made from seaweed extract, and collagen,
    which is a protein found naturally in the body.
    Agarose does not
    work well in organ printing because it does not biodegrade. Collagen
    biodegrades, but it also has a tendency to contract and shrink, which
    makes it difficult to get nutrients in and out of the embedded cells.
    The
    new bio-paper developed by Prestwich and his team biodegrades without
    shrinking. It is made by connecting long molecular chains of sugar,
    which result in a jello-like hydrogel.
    The cells are mixed in with
    the gel and put into a standard inkjet printer cartridge. The machine
    then spits out a gel sheet embedded with cellular dots containing a
    minuscule amount – about 1 microliter each.
    The bio-paper capitalizes on the natural ability of cells to repair tissue.
    Cells
    embedded into the bio-paper secrete enzymes that eat up the hydrogel;
    produce a biological matrix for new cells; and they multiple and divide
    to create new cells. Eventually, the cells migrate, fuse together, and
    become a functioning tissue.
    “Printing technology is really the next
    frontier in terms of the generation of tissues and organs,” said
    Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative
    Medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.
    Cells can already be painted by hand onto a biological scaffold.
    “This is analogous to going from a handheld paint brush to an air brush,” he said.
    The
    challenge is figuring out what printing method works best for what
    tissue and how best to incorporate the blood vessel network into the
    tissue to deliver nutrients to the cells.
    To date, Prestwich, who is
    also the founder of Salt Lake City-based Sentrx Surgical, a company
    licensed to use this technology, and his team have been able to create
    tubular shapes like blood vessels.
    He hopes that within three to six years, a version of this technology could be available to patients.

    Print Skin with Inkjet Printers  
     -
    You have a printer. What would you normally do with it? Print
    documents, probably forms and even a few photographs? Did you ever
    think you could print skin for yourself? How about organs, or even
    notebook screens?
    If you think I’ve lost all of my senses, you are more wrong than Bill Gates was about future memory requirements.
    So
    what exactly am I talking about? Researchers at the University of
    Manchester have developed an exciting technology where you take cells
    from the patient’s body and feed them into the computer. The system
    then analyses and multiplies them to the required level, which then
    fills up as “ink” in the first cartridge while the second cartridge
    contains the necessary gel. Once the process has started, multiple
    print layers ensure that a complex 3D skin is created and the
    dimensions are exactly as required.
    Perhaps Adobe needs to come up
    with a plug-in for this in Photoshop. What if I want my skin to be a
    different color? I don’t want to go through the pain of a tattoo, so I
    just feed in some of my cells, make some funky designs on the skin and
    slap them on me. It’s fairly simple, unless you want to get to the
    complexities of how it works.
    Similarly, researchers at Cambridge
    have just used Inkjet technology to create a 14″ OLED screen for
    notebook computers. Again, since we are using printers, I could get my
    notebook screen in whatever shape I desire. Since they are printing it,
    it’s obviously pretty thin, and for all we know, I might even be able
    to fold away my TV whenever I don’t need it, assuming we use specific
    polymers to make that happen.
    This gets me thinking about the
    possibilities. Lets leave medical science to the doctors as they are
    far more adept at it, but I must tell you that the Inkjets used here
    were really not too different from the printers we buy for our
    computing needs.
    Imagine the speed and cost cutting that hardware
    designers could achieve if 3D modelling became feasible and
    commercially available. Say you wanted to design a gaming wheel, or
    indeed a whole car. You won’t have to sit with a model shop
    representative creating scaled models using foam or other applications.
    All you would have to is design the product of your choice using
    AutoCAD or whatever 3D modeling software catches your fancy and hit
    print. The printer will then proceed to build an exact replica of
    whatever you designed.
    This gives the designer a lot more control
    over the way 3D models get created, and it saves time and finances for
    companies, which they can pass on to their customers (alright, they
    probably won’t but I have the right to dream, don’t I?).
    Tomorrow,
    if we really get the concept of cloning and duplicating cells, wouldn’t
    this technology make life easier (or not)? Imagine you want a 60watt
    bulb for your house. All you would have to do is feed 60watt and put in
    some broken glass; the printer will then proceed to print the bulb for
    you. This may be far fetched, but who knows?
    Could we take cloning
    and Inkjet technology far enough to generate entire human beings? That
    would really cause uproar in some communities, but staying on the less
    controversial side, maybe I could print two 7800GTXs, a motherboard and
    an X2 CPU to build my latest and greatest PC. Oh well, maybe I really
    have lost my hat this time, but it would be an interesting
    technological development nonetheless.