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Clusters of stem cells from the 3D printer  (Source:
Technique could help create artificial organs

Scientists may one day be able to address organ donation shortages and the need for immunosuppressant drugs for transplants by creating artificial human organs via 3D printing.

A team of Heriot-Watt University scientists, led by Dr. Will Shu, has successfully used 3D printing to create clusters of embryonic stem cells -- which could, at some point, be used to produce artificial organs.

The team used an adjustable microvalve as a 3D printing technique, where layers of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) were built up to create clusters of cells. HESCs are derived from early stage embryos and are capable of transforming into any tissue in the body.

"We found that the valve-based printing is gentle enough to maintain high stem cell viability, accurate enough to produce spheroids of uniform size, and most importantly, the printed hESCs maintained their pluripotency - the ability to differentiate into any other cell type," said Shu.

The technique will use cloning to create hESCs that have the patient's own genetic programming contained, meaning that the artificial organ from which the hESCs are made will not trigger a negative immune response when transplanted.

Also, this method could produce artificial human tissue for drug testing purposes.

While 3D printing of cells is nothing new, previous techniques with human stem cells have failed due to the sensitivity of these cells.

Source: Heriot-Watt University

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RE: Misleading headline
By KCjoker on 2/6/2013 9:29:21 PM , Rating: 4
Can get embryonic stem cells from umbilical cords easily. Why that isn't talked about like crazy makes no sense to me.

RE: Misleading headline
By JKflipflop98 on 2/7/2013 10:24:25 AM , Rating: 2
Here's the thing about that, you have to pay the hospital an extra $1500+ in order for them to use the umbilical for stem cell research. Most people are going to turn that down. We need some way to get rid of that cost.

RE: Misleading headline
By mcnabney on 2/8/2013 10:51:25 AM , Rating: 2
No, you are wrong.

You pay $1500 for YOUR baby's cord blood to be stored away for future use by YOUR baby. It is called cord-blood banking. The point of it is that if your kid develops some disease when he is 15, those stem cells with his/her DNA in it is available for use.

You can also choose to donate the cord material at no charge or have it disposed of.

RE: Misleading headline
By conquistadorst on 2/8/2013 9:07:17 AM , Rating: 2
Can get embryonic stem cells from umbilical cords easily.

They're similar, but not exactly the same thing. There are more than 2 kinds of stem cells. But even if embryonic stem cells are used as a research gateway, at some point we have to make the switch. Stem cells usage and application will eventually become mainstream like McDonald's french fries and there will be issues of scalability. OR we can just put our daughters on conveyer belts...

Not even mentioning tissue rejection... now *THAT* is something people always forget about when borrowing tissue from others. A lifetime's curse of immunosuppressive drugs.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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