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<nettime> gee whiz factor 10
Brandon Keim on Wed, 29 Jan 2003 02:05:18 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> gee whiz factor 10

Imagine the design possibilities!

Living Tissue to Be Hot Off the Printer


LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists are turning to desktop printers in an effort
to produce three dimensional tubes of living tissue and possibly even entire

Instead of using a degradable scaffold and covering it with cells to produce
tissue, scientists in the United States are modifying ink jet printers and
using cells to create 3D structures.

"The work is a first step toward printing complex tissues or even entire
organs," New Scientist magazine said on Wednesday.

Although producing organs is a very long way away, many laboratories are
printing arrays of DNA, proteins and even cells.

Vladimir Mironov, of the Medical University of South Carolina, and Thomas
Boland, of Clemson University in the same state, have used a non-toxic,
biodegradable gel and animal cells to make the structures.

"By printing alternate layers of the gel and clumps of cells on to glass
slides, they have shown 3D structures such as tubes can be built," according
to the magazine.

If the layers are thin enough the cells fuse when they come in contact with
each other and bits of tissue are formed. When the structure is finished the
gel can be removed.

"Like printing with different colors, placing different types of cells in
the ink cartridges should make it possible to recreate complex structures
consisting of multiple cells," the magazine explained.

But before scientists can produce organs they will have to solve the problem
of creating circulatory networks to provide oxygen and nutrients to the
cells in the structures.

But the scientists hope it will be possible.

"This could have the same kind of impact that Gutenberg's press did," said

 Copyright 2003, Reuters 

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