A)Skin Cell Spraying Bio Printer Can Heal Burn Victims in Three Weeks
by Brit Liggett,
Recently we showcased a 3D printer that creates human body parts ready for transplant, and now our frankenstinean fascination with making body parts has unearthed another amazing device. This new bio-printer sprays skin cells on burn victim’s wounds, promoting healthy recovery. The printer is mounted onto a frame that is wheeled over a patient’s hospital bed. A laser reads the depth and shape of the wound, and with the help of a computer the device sprays a precise layer of skin cells that can heal infection-prone wounds in just three weeks.
The skin-spraying project is being developed by scientists and students at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. They are planning to team up with U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine to use the device to help wounded soldiers returning from overseas. The process starts as skin cells are separated and purified. They are then placed in a nutritious solution that helps the cells multiply. They are then loaded into the device, sprayed on the skin in layers and voila! Burns are healed. So far they’ve only tested the process on mice, and they were able to successfully heal burns after just three weeks.
Traditionally the only way to fix severe burn wounds is a skin graft. Skin grafts are highly painful and generally leave huge scars. With this new process scientists include some stem cells in the mix which allows hair follicles and sebaceous glands develop in the new layers of skin. It seems that when the cells are sprayed on the wound they know exactly what they are supposed to do, and they develop as naturally as a your own skin would. Eliminating the mass amount of medical rehabilitation involved in getting burn victims back on their feet by spraying on skin cells will eliminate much of the painful process and cut down on the chemical-based medicines used to help them heal.
B)Princeton University Scientists Use a 3D Printer to Create a Bionic Ear
by Morgana Matus, 05/03/13
Princeton University scientists have invented a new medical device that would have Ridley Scott nodding in recognition. By using live cells and metal nanoparticles, the researchers were able to use a 3D printer to create a bionic ear with an integrated coil antenna. The fully-functioning organ receives radio waves, and it could potentially improve upon the human body’s sense of hearing.
In a research paper published in the journal Nano Letters, the team, which was led by Michael McAlpine, detailed how they constructed the bionic ear. Taking advantage of a 3D printer, the scientists deposited layers of materials in with the assistance of a computer simulated model of the human ear. The printer was able to lay down a matrix of hydrogel, calf cells that would eventually turn into cartilage, and silver nanoparticles to form the antenna. The technology allowed the team to seamlessly integrate the circuitry into the tissue itself. The finished organ is composed of a coiled antenna within the ear and two wires leading from the base that can be wound around the cochlea. More research still needs to be done before the device can be used on a human patient, but it could potentially be attached to nerve endings to restore or enhance hearing. The prototype currently uses radio signals, but the team plans to incorporate other materials such as pressure-sensitive electronic sensors to capture sound.
“The design and implementation of bionic organs and devices that enhance human capabilities, known as cybernetics has been an area of increasing scientific interest,” the researchers noted in their paper. “This field has the potential to generate customized replacement parts for the human body, or even create organs containing capabilities beyond what human biology ordinarily provides.”
Joining research that has already made bionic eyes and limbs a reality, our senses are just another aspect of our lives ready to take that next leap into the future.
+ Princeton University
c)Scientists Successfully 3D Print Embryonic Stem Cells For the First Time
by Kristine Lofgren, 02/11/13
As much fun as 3D printing can be (printed mini figurines and lampshades anyone?), it’s also a world-changing technology with the potential to save lives. Scientists at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh just successfully 3d printed embryonic stem cells for the first time, and the technology has the potential to eliminate the need for organ donation. The artificial tissue could also provide laboratories with a ready supply of material for research purposes, eliminating animal drug testing and the need to acquire embryonic stem cells.
The process – developed by Dr. Will Shu and his colleagues at Heriot-Watt University’s Biomedical Microengineering group in partnership with Roslin Cellab – is different from previous 3D cell printing attempts because it can produce delicate embryonic cell cultures. Prior to this, printing could only produce 2D cells or cells that are tougher than human stem cells. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that these cells have been 3D printed. The technique will allow us to create more accurate human tissue models which are essential to in vitro drug development and toxicity-testing,” says Dr. Shu.
The technology could provide doctors with an endless supply of organs for transplantation, and it could entirely eliminate the practice of animal drug testing. According to Dr. Shu, “In the longer term, we envisage the technology being further developed to create viable 3D organs for medical implantation from a patient’s own cells, eliminating the need for organ donation, immune suppression and the problem of transplant rejection.”
+ Heriot-Watt University
D)Organovo 3D-Prints the World’s First Tiny Human Livers
by Charley Cameron, 04/24/13
San Diego-based bioprinting company Organovo has successfully created functional 3D-printed livers—albeit very, very tiny ones. At half a millimeter deep by four millimeters wide, the livers will likely be used for medical tests, but Organovo hopes that they will soon produce full-sized livers that could do away with agonizing waits on long transplant lists.
The tiny organs are constructed using Organovo’s NovoGen Bioprinting platform, and as New Scientist explains, this 3D printer builds up over 20 layers of hepatocytes and stellate cells—two major types of liver cells. It then adds cells from the lining of blood vessels to “form a delicate mesh of channels that supply the liver cells with nutrients and oxygen, allowing the tissue to live for five days or longer.”
These 3D replica livers can perform most of the functions of a liver; they produce proteins, generate cholesterol and can even process alcohol. “We believe these models will prove superior in their ability to provide predictive data for drug discovery and development, better than animal models or current cell models,” explained Keith Murphy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Organovo.The organs can be infected with diseases—and treated with medication—to run tests with more accurate results than one would receive from 2D cultures. Additionally, the 3D-printed organs last longer than conventional 2D cultures.
Taken alone, this is pretty extraordinary, but Organovo believes that in the future they will be able to create larger “livers” that can be used for transplant in humans—which means developing a technique to 3D print human-sized networks of blood vessels that will be capable of nourishing the entire organ.
Via New Scientist, Gizmodo
E)Scientists Use 3D Printer to Create First “Printed” Human Vein
by Brit Liggett,
3D Printing technology has recently leapt into a new realm — we’ve seen printers that can create entire buildings out of stone, delicious meals out of simple ingredients, and now — perhaps weirdest and coolest of them all — a printer that can build body parts from cells! Scientists working on the Organovo NovoGen printer recently created the first “printed” human vein. This technology could replace other toxic and carbon-heavy medicinal practices like using artificial parts in thehuman body.
The printer is meant to be used in regenerative medicine. Instead of borrowing body parts from someone else — or yourself — the printer will just make a new part for you. The printer is loaded with cartridges of “bio-ink” a substance that acts as a kind of scaffolding for the cells to retain their shape. A sophisticated computer is linked to the printer that is pre-programmed with the 3D blueprint of whatever is being made. The computer instructs the printer to lay down two dimensional layers of bio ink and cells that eventually form into the 3D body part.
With the successful printing of a human vein, the scientists are looking forward to moving on to larger organs. Though the printing of an entire lung or heart is far off, the technology has been proven to be viable. In the near future instead of using plastics or metals to fix small arteries and heart defects, doctors could use real human tissue. Instead of borrowing skin or veins from other parts of the body to fix injuries they could just print some out. Instead of borrowing a liver or heart from a cadaver they could just whip one up. All they need are some healthy organ cells and they’ve got a replacement.