Cool Science News
Posted by That Other Mike on 04/06/2010
No following comment, I just thought this was cool:
‘Printer’ designed to create made-to-measure human organs
It is hoped that the development could one day mean that patients in urgent need of new organs will no longer have to join transplant waiting lists.
A prototype machine developed by the California-based regenerative medicine company Organovo is already capable of growing new arteries.
They hope that the same techniques could be used to create new organs.
It is based on 3D laser printing technology used to create new machine parts for industry.
But instead of combining layers of plastic and metal, the “bioprinter” puts living tissue together.
Two laser-based printing heads are used to place living cells onto thin sheets of gel with microscopic precision.
Multiple layers are then laid on top of each other in a specially designed mould, or “scaffold” and the cells begin to fuse together.
“Ultimately the idea would be for surgeons to have tissue on demand for various uses,” said Keith Murphy the company’s chief executive.
“The best way to do that is get a number of bio-printers into the hands of researchers and give them the ability to make three dimensional tissues on demand.”