Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Scientists Have Printed 3D Embryotic Stem Cells

Breaking new grounds for the first time, scientists have produced human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) using 3D printing. They're utterly amazing, and they could be used to reproduce kidneys, hearts, and other organs in the future. We are at the cusp of future medical research and practical application!

A team at Heriot-Way University in Scotland used stem cells as ink for the 3D printer, and using a valve, pushed out living cells into droplets of new cells in uniform sizes. The researchers would adjust the nozzle on the printer to control the very diameter and dimensions of the cells. And what's even more mesmerizing is that these organisms were capable of differentiation, meaning they can form into various types of tissues. Other attempts at this replication have not worked as well because they've produced unstable results. However, 99 percent of the cells that came out of the printer were still usable.

So why is this important? hESCs are like blank slates, meaning they can be used to create any type of tissue. Think lung transplants, liver transplants, skin grafts, and so forth. Or 3D printed cells could be planted into existing organs to help regenerate parts that have been damaged. And furthermore, it would mean a limit on animal testing. Because rather than testing on these live critters, scientists could use real, 3D printed organs for drug trials.

You can go ahead and pick your jaw up off your desk now; it's amazing and no so simply put.

For the full and detailed article visit PopSci

-Daniel, Jedi Editor


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