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Clusters of stem cells from the 3D printer  (Source: bbc.co.uk)
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 Freakie on 2/6/2013 9:56:46 PM , Rating: 1
You do know that Bush blocked the use, in research that has any government funding, of a handful of embryonic stem cells LINES that were created over 15 years ago. Scientists aren't horrible devils killing babies left and right. There are about 20 government funded embryonic stem cell lines that are used in research all over the country because the great thing about those lines, is that they reproduce very well and so there is no point it getting a new line of cells every single time someone wants to do an experiment (which is also costly). This way, a lab can just order the cells which are already cultured. Blocking the use of those lines actually encouraged new lines of embryonic stem cells to be made with private funding, thereby completely negating any "moral" reasons for banning the funding in the first place.


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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