We remember hearing about “organ printing” a long time ago. It sounded like a fanciful process of precisely layering different tissues, all while keeping the cells within oxygenated and happy.
Well, progress has been made. According to Deseret Morning News in Utah, organ printers now have a substrate, or bio-paper, with which to work.
The source is fuzzy on the details, but apparently the cells will be suspended in a thin hydrogel:
The cells and liquid hydrogel are put in the printer cartridge and then dropped into three-dimensional, 1-microliter dots that form layers as the hydrogel hardens. The cells form tissue that can be implanted into a damaged organ.
Forgacs said he uses Prestwich’s hydrogel because of its biocompatibility with other cells. Instead of disappearing, it becomes part of a matrix that is integral to the tissue.
More info about the bio-paper is available at the Prestwich Research Group. For more on the printer, check out the Organ Printing Lab…
(hat tip: Slashdot)