Printing Organs from Inkjet Printer

October 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm 1 comment

I bet you read the title of this blog you thought I was lying. I thought that it was a joke as well until I heard about this in my Biotechnology class that I took at ISU. My teacher showed us this video which you can watch here:

If you’re not a believer yet perhaps some more background knowledge on the concept might help.

An engineering professor at the University of Texas has pioneered different ways to use a normal inkjet printer to “print” heart tissue or cardiac tissue to repair a damaged heart. Another team of researchers is working with printers to grow kidneys from them at the South Carolina Medical University.

The terminology is called bio-printing. It involves the droplets of stem cells and oxygen mixed onto a substrate which is biodegradable. The multilayer organic material could be created to implant into heart failure patients.There is no set limit for the number of layers in a cardiac patch. It can continue having layers as long as there is adequate cell supply. This is because a 10×10×2 millimeter of the patch holds about 5 million stem cells. This might sound like a lot of cells, but did you know that when you rub your hands together you lose thousands of cells?

The process of bio-printing begins with the normal ink-filled cartridges. There are emptied and sterilized after cleaning. They are then filled with a cell-rich solution called bio-ink. As the video shows the technique of skin cell printing begins with the measurement of depth and dimensions of the burnt wound on the patient’s body using an infrared scanner. Then skin cells are cultured from the sample cells taken from the patient. These would be ready within 2-3 weeks. During this time, the wounds need to be cleaned up on a daily basis to remove dead cells. As the health returns to the burnt skin edges, new cells will be deposited in distinct layers by the printer.

You might think that this type of experimenting is just for scientists and biochemists. In fact one man was able to regenerate his fingertip using a special powder substance called extracellular matrix . This is a mix of protein and connective tissue surgeons use to repair tendons. It signals your body to start the process of tissue regrowth, and in just four weeks his fingertip grew back completely. Once again if you don’t believe me you can check it out here.

If you are interested in biotechnology you can take  TEC  304 Medical, Agricultural & Bio-Related Technologies here at ISU. I took it and I absolutely loved it.

If you are interested in reading more about this topic and what my blog was based off of you can see it here.

Thanks again for reading and watching, hope you enjoyed it.

~ Lauren

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. philprof  |  October 3, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I really like the way that this post shows how technology blends with biology.

    Reply

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