New technique advances bioprinting of cells

Jul 01, 2011

Ever since an ordinary office inkjet printer had its ink cartridges swapped out for a cargo of cells about 10 years ago and sprayed out cell-packed droplets to create living tissue, scientists and engineers have never looked at office equipment in quite the same way. They dream of using a specialized bio-inkjet printer to grow new body parts for organ transplants or tissues for making regenerative medicine repairs to ailing bodies. Both these new therapies begin with a carefully printed mass of embryonic stem cells. And now there's progress on getting that initial mass of stem cells printed.

By extending his pioneering acoustical work that applied to generate droplets from fluids, Dr. Utkan Demirci and his team at Harvard Medical School's (Brigham and Women's Hospital) Bio-Acoustic Mems in Medicine Laboratory report encouraging preliminary results at an early and crucial point in a stem cell's career known as embroid body formation. Their research results appear in the journal Biomicrofluids, published by the .

Getting the embroid body formed correctly and without mechanical trauma is key to preserving the stem cells' astounding ability to develop into any desired tissue. Their new automated bioprinting approach appears to do this better than manual pipetting in the "hang-drop" method traditionally used.

Notes Dr. Demirci: "To have the capability to manipulate cells in a high-throughput environment reliably and repeatedly, whether it is a single cell or tens of thousands of cells in a single droplet, has the potential to enable potential solutions to many problems in medicine and engineering."

Three research results stand out:

  • Enhanced uniformity of size and ability to control droplet size. These are key variables because they determine how the embroid bodies will grow.
  • Achieving a scalable system that can print one cell or tens of thousands per droplet—a level of precise manipulation not previously available.
  • Faster droplet formation. The new system delivers 160 droplets/seconds, versus 10 minutes for the hang-drop method.
The next step involves assessing the two methods to compare their effects on cell function. Says Dr. Demirci: "We are eager to take it to the next level."

Explore further: Researchers capture picture of microRNA in action

More information: The article, "Embryonic stem cell bioprinting for uniform and controlled size embryoid body formation," by Feng Xu, Banupriya Sridharan, SuiQi Wang, Umut Gurkan, Brian Syverud, and Utkan Demirci, appears in the journal Biomicrofluidics.

Provided by American Institute of Physics

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US researchers identify first human lung stem cell

May 11, 2011

For the first time, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have identified a human lung stem cell that is self-renewing and capable of forming and integrating multiple biological structures of the lung including ...

Sweet success for new stem cell ID trick

Nov 20, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Biomaterial scientists in Manchester believe they have found a new way of isolating the ‘ingredients’ needed for potential stem cell treatments for nerve damage and heart disease.

Scientists announce stem-cell discovery

Apr 20, 2006

U.S. scientists say they've uncovered signatures near crucial developmental genes -- a critical step toward creating embryonic stem cells for medicine.

Embryonic stem cells used to grow cartilage

Sep 06, 2007

Rice University biomedical engineers have developed a new technique for growing cartilage from human embryonic stem cells, a method that could be used to grow replacement cartilage for the surgical repair of knee, jaw, hip, ...

Recommended for you

Researchers capture picture of microRNA in action

16 hours ago

Biologists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have described the atomic-level workings of "microRNA" molecules, which control the expression of genes in all animals and plants.

Blocking a fork in the road to DNA replication

18 hours ago

A team of Whitehead Institute scientists has discovered the surprising manner in which an enigmatic protein known as SUUR acts to control gene copy number during DNA replication. It's a finding that could shed new light on ...

Cell division, minus the cells

20 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The process of cell division is central to life. The last stage, when two daughter cells split from each other, has fascinated scientists since the dawn of cell biology in the Victorian era. ...

A new method simplifies the analysis of RNA structure

21 hours ago

To understand the function of an RNA molecule, similar to the better-known DNA and vital for cell metabolism, we need to know its three-dimensional structure. Unfortunately, establishing the shape of an RNA ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.