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Printed 'bio-inks' could revolutionize range of replacement tissues for disease, injury

A Pittsburgh-based research team has created and used an innovative ink-jet system to print "bio-ink" patterns that direct muscle-derived stem cells from adult mice to differentiate into both muscle cells and bone cells. Technology could revolutionize the design of replacement body tissues and one day benefit millions of people whose tissues are damaged from a variety of conditions, including fatal genetic diseases like Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), wear and tear associated with aging joints, accidental trauma, and joint deterioration due to autoimmune disorders.

"Previously, researchers have been limited to directing stem cells to differentiate toward multiple lineages in separate culture vessels. This is not how the body works: the body is one vessel in which multiple tissues are patterned and formed. The ink-jet printing technology allows us to precisely engineer multiple unique microenvironments by patterning bio-inks that could promote differentiation towards multiple lineages simultaneously," explained Phil Campbell, research professor at Carnegie Mellon's Institute for Complex Engineered Systems.

"Controlling what types of cells differentiate from stem cells and gaining spatial control of stem cell differentiation are important capabilities if researchers are to engineer replacement tissues that might be used in treating disease, trauma or genetic abnormalities," said Lee Weiss, research professor at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute.

The custom-built ink-jet printer, developed at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute, can deposit and immobilize growth factors in virtually any design, pattern or concentration, laying down patterns on native extracellular matrix-coated slides (such as fibrin). These slides are then placed in culture dishes and topped with muscle-derived stem cells (MDSCs). Based on pattern, dose or factor printed by the ink-jet, the MDSCs can be directed to differentiate down various cell-fate differentiation pathways (e.g. bone- or muscle-like).

The long-term promise of this new technology could be the tailoring of tissue-engineered regenerative therapies. In preparation for preclinical studies, the Pittsburgh researchers are combining the versatile ink-jet system with advanced real-time live cell image analysis developed at the Robotics Institute and Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center to further understand how stem cells differentiate into bone, muscle and other cell types.

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Fifth Element....
By drebo on 12/12/2006 10:08:11 AM , Rating: 5
Anyone else think of the Fifth Element when they read this article?

RE: Fifth Element....
By marvdmartian on 12/12/2006 10:30:48 AM , Rating: 3
More importantly, now that drebo has mentioned it, how many of the geeks here are wondering if they could make their own Leeloo with one of these things?!? Weird Science, anyone?? ;)

I'm waiting for the time that you, after, say, cutting your arm, can stick it in your Hewlett Packard instant flesh creating bio-tech printer, and repair the cut at home? And more importantly, will 3rd party refills for the cartridges be available??? Cuz we all know how expensive the oem ones are!!

RE: Fifth Element....
By oTAL on 12/13/2006 2:46:52 PM , Rating: 2
"Alzira, eu fiquei sem uma perna, bem cá imprimir-me uma nova!"
adapted from "A minha vida dava um filme indiano", Gato Fedorento, Portuguese comedians.

Part of sketch where a guy gets his leg torn out by a bear trep before being raped by the bear who was a gente, but lonely animal. When he gets home he asks his wife to print a new leg for him.

P.S. I'm sooooooooooo going to get rated down cause there are no portuguese here! *lol*

RE: Fifth Element....
By loomis2 on 12/12/2006 11:12:10 AM , Rating: 2
Actually I was thinking of Starship Troopers where Rico is in that tank with the machine restiching the hole in his leg.

RE: Fifth Element....
By therealnickdanger on 12/12/2006 11:22:00 AM , Rating: 2
That's exactly what I was going to post. Leeloo, you are MINE!

RE: Fifth Element....
By TheGee on 12/12/2006 1:40:48 PM , Rating: 1
Right darling...what would you like tonight? wide or long? long? OK I'll jst go and print it!!

RE: Fifth Element....
By fredsnotdead on 12/12/2006 3:56:17 PM , Rating: 2
are the printheads...

RE: Fifth Element....
By UnFaZeD on 12/12/2006 9:07:54 PM , Rating: 2
hahaha...was just about to post "multipass"

By Dfere on 12/12/2006 8:09:00 AM , Rating: 2
I am never going to look at my Canon the same waya again!

Think the medical version costs $5,000?

RE: Ick
By ksherman on 12/12/2006 8:24:01 AM , Rating: 3
Sure with ink refills in the $100,000-500,000 range ;-)

RE: Ick
By Visual on 12/12/2006 9:47:20 AM , Rating: 3
bah, how could the lab mice ever afford that?

By UltimateDeath on 12/12/2006 10:27:52 AM , Rating: 2
Its good to see that eventually all these ideas become a reality, I read about this a year or two ago as a concept in a scientific journal.

It seems more and more often all these ideas are becoming practical, now they just need to do it fast :).

I wonder if they'll release an all in one fax/scan/print your own cells...

RE: Finally
By rykerabel on 12/12/2006 1:46:40 PM , Rating: 2
beam me up scotty?

RE: Finally
By Volrath06660 on 12/15/2006 11:50:16 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, that isn't going to be coming for a while. Heisenberg and his uncertainty principle stand firmly opposed.

By quiksilv3r on 12/12/2006 4:45:10 PM , Rating: 2
Epson is going to have a fit over ink cartridge makers

RE: epson
By Cullinaire on 12/12/2006 5:57:38 PM , Rating: 2
As usual, they'll lure you in with FAR or bundle deals on the printer first.

More comic uses
By iNGEN on 12/14/2006 5:15:40 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it's all fun and games until a disgruntled IT employee prints up a legion of hungry cockroaches in the bosses' office.

By BirdDad on 12/16/2006 7:24:14 PM , Rating: 2
by the time they can print that the surgery technology will be there to attach it properly

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