ORGANS SOON TO BE PRINTABLE

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ORGANS SOON TO BE PRINTABLE

 user 2006-01-10 at 10:16:00 am Views: 56
  • #13448

    Researchers believe organs will soon be printable
    A
    collaborative study between three universities, led by University of
    Missouri-Columbia biological physics professor Gabor Forgacs, claims
    that it will soon be possible to print organs out using bio-ink and
    bio-paper, and so far the study has produced tubes similar to blood
    vessels and sheets of heart muscle cells.
     * Led by University of
    Missouri-Columbia biological physics professor Gabor Forgacs and aided
    by a $5 million National Science Foundation grant, researchers at three
    universities have developed bio-ink and bio-paper that could make
    so-called organ printing a reality.
        * So far, they’ve made tubes
    similar to human blood vessels and sheets of heart muscle cells,
    printed in three dimensions on a special printer.
        * “I think
    this is going to be a biggie,” said Glenn D. Prestwich, the University
    of Utah professor who developed the bio-paper.
        * “A lot of things are going to be a pain in the butt to print, but I think we can do livers and kidneys as well.”
        * Prestwich guessed initial human organ printing may be five or 10 years away.
       
    * Once the stack is the right size — maybe two centimeters’ worth of
    sheets, each containing a ring of blots, for a tube resembling a blood
    vessel — printing stops.
        * The stack is incubated in a bioreactor, where cells fuse with their neighbors in all directions.
       
    * The bio-paper works as a scaffold to support and nurture cells, and
    should be eaten away by them or naturally degrade, researchers said.
       
    * Though it can take less than two minutes to print a sheet of
    bio-paper with bio-ink, it can take about a week for such a tube to
    fuse, Forgacs said.
        * It’s currently feasible to print tubes,
    Prestwich explained, because the printers output bio-paper in a sort of
    ever-ascending spiral, like a Slinky.
        * Helen Lu, director of
    the Biomaterials and Interface Tissue Engineering Laboratory at
    Columbia University, thinks organ printing could eventually work.
       
    * Still, she cautioned that scientists must determine additional
    details such as how blood vessels are formed in skin, because simply
    implanting them might not be optimal.