A 3D Printer That Generates Human Embryonic Stem Cells
2013-02-07 0:00

By Rebecca Boyle | io9.com

3-D printers can produce gun parts, aircraft wings, food and a lot more, but this new 3-D printed product may be the craziest thing yet: human embryonic stem cells. Using stem cells as the "ink" in a 3-D printer, researchers in Scotland hope to eventually build 3-D printed organs and tissues. A team at Heriot-Watt University used a specially designed valve-based technique to deposit whole, live cells onto a surface in a specific pattern.

This article originally appeared at Popular Science.

The cells were floating in a "bio-ink," to use the terminology of the researchers who developed this technique. They were able to squeeze out tiny droplets, containing five cells or fewer per droplet, in a variety of shapes and sizes. To produce clumps of cells, the team printed out cells first and then overlaid those with cell-free bio-ink, resulting in larger droplets or spheroids of cells. The cells would group together inside these spheroids. Spheroid size is key, because stem cells need certain conditions to work properly. This is why very precisely controlled 3-D printing could be so valuable for stem cell research.

After being squeezed out of a thin valve, the cells were still alive and viable, and able to transform into any other cell in the body, the researchers say. Itís the first time anyone has printed human embyronic stem cells, said lead researcher Will Wenmiao Shu, a professor at Heriot-Watt. But ... why?

Eventually, they could be used to print out new tissues, or as filler inside existing organs, which would be regenerated. It could even serve to limit animal testing for new drug compounds, allowing them to be tested on actual human tissue, said Jason King, business development manager at Roslin Cellab, one of the research partners. "In the longer term, [it could] provide organs for transplant on demand, without the need for donation and without the problems of immune suppression and potential organ rejection," he said in a statement.

The team took stem cells from an embryonic kidney and from a well-studied embryonic cell line, and grew them in culture. They had to build a custom reservoir ó letís call it an inkwell ó to safely house the delicate cells, and then they added some large-diameter nozzles. A pressurized air supply pumps the cells from the inkwell into the valves, which contain pressurized nozzles on the end. The team could control the amount of cells dispensed by changing any of the factors, including the pneumatic pressure, nozzle diameter or length of time the nozzle stayed open.

At first the researchers printed droplets, but ultimately, they were so precise that they made cell spheroids in a variety of shapes and sizes, like the university logo above. One interesting wrinkle: The cells also formed spheroids in the inkwells. More work needs to be done to explain that.

The researchers also took several steps to make sure the cells survived the printing process. Examining the results of several experiments, they found 99 percent of the cells were still viable after running through the valve-based printer.


Read the full article at: io9.com

In partnership with Roslin Cellab, the universityís biomedical engineering group came up with a valve-based printing technique that produces highly-viable, uniformly-sized droplets of stem cells. Most importantly, though, the cells maintain their pluripotency ó the ability to differentiate into every adult human cell type. While the prospect of lab-grown custom organs is incredibly exciting, the group is careful to temper its outlook, noting that any such application would be "in the longer term."
Source: TheVerge.com

Related Articles
Bioengineers í3D Printí Living Human Embryonic Stem Cells for First Time
This Child Has A Robot Hand Made With 3D Printers
Long-Gone Mollusk Comes to Life with 3D Printer
3D printer creates physical model of fetus for expecting parents
Artificial blood vessels created on a 3D printer

Latest News from our Front Page

ISIS Oil Trade Full Frontal: "Raqqa's Rockefellers," Bilal Erdogan, KRG Crude, And The Israel Connection
2015-11-30 21:56
"Effectively, we have been financially discriminated against for a long time. By early 2014, when we did not receive the budget, we decided we need to start thinking about independent oil sales‚ÄĚ --  Ashti Hawrami, Kurdistan‚Äôs minister for natural resources In June of 2014, the SCF Altai (an oil tanker) arrived at Ashkelon port. Hours later, the first shipment of Kurdish ...
Prosecutors ban Soros Foundation as 'threat to Russian national security'
2015-11-30 21:04
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has recognized George Soros’s Open Society Institute and another affiliated organization as undesirable groups, banning Russian citizens and organizations from participation in any of their projects. In a statement released on Monday, prosecutors said the activities of the Open Society Institute and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation were a threat to the foundations of Russia’s ...
Israeli Colonel Caught with Islamic State (IS) Pants Down
2015-11-30 21:11
This was definitely not supposed to happen. It seems that an Israeli military man with the rank of colonel was ‚Äúcaught with IS pants down.‚ÄĚ By that I mean he was captured amid a gaggle of so-called IS‚Äďor Islamic State or ISIS or DAESH depending on your preference‚Äďterrorists, by soldiers of the Iraqi army. Under interrogation by the Iraqi intelligence ...
Uh-Oh 14,000 Illegal Immigrants in Sweden Disappear without a Trace
2015-11-30 20:10
More than 14,000 foreign nationals told to leave Sweden have instead gone underground, with police saying there is little they can do to enforce deportation orders. A total of 21,748 people had been given deportation orders by the Migration Agency at the end of October ‚Äď the largest number in history, the Aftonbladet tabloid reported on Friday. Of those, 14,140 are registered ...
Munich Jews battle in court over Holocaust remembrance
2015-11-30 20:42
Two Jewish groups in Munich are at odds over how to remember the Holocaust. The situation has escalated, and now one of the groups is suing the city. The argument centers on ‚ÄėStolpersteine‚Äô - bronze memorial plaques that can be found all over Germany, but not in Munich. In July, Munich voted to continue the ban on Stolpersteine first introduced in ...
More News »