3D printing for new tissues and organs

Jun 18, 2009

A more effective way to build plastic scaffolds on which new tissues and even whole organs might be grown in the laboratory is being developed by an international collaboration between teams in Portugal and the UK.

Writing in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology, researchers explain how a technique known as rapid prototyping, or three-dimensional printing, could enable that replicates the porous and hierarchical structures of natural tissues at an unprecedented level.

Scaffold structures for tissue engineering that allow researchers to grow , whether skin, muscle, or even kidney, in a three-dimensional could allow medical science to create natural artificial organs. Such scaffolds are increasingly important for the future direction of regenerative medicine. However, conventional techniques have several limitations. In particular, current scaffold construction lacks full control of the often microscopic pores and their architecture.

Tissue engineering usually involves cellular implantation. Cells might be derived from the patient or a donor. They are combined in the laboratory with a degradable scaffold that can then be implanted to replace damaged tissues. The presence of the structure scaffold also triggers the body to rebuild damaged tissue. Ceramics are usually used to help rebuild bone, while polymers might be used to rebuild soft body tissues.

Paulo Bártolo and Henrique Almeida of the Institute for Polymers and Composites, at Leiria Polytechnic Institute, and Tahar Laoui of the Department of Manufacturing and Systems at the University of Wolverhampton, are borrowing a technique from more conventional manufacturing to solve this problem.

In rapid prototyping, a computer controls a laser that cures a vat of resin layer by layer and building up a solid object. It allows designers and manufacturers to rapidly produce a prototype component created on a CAD machine from anywhere in the world. But, it is the precision with which a material can be constructed that could be crucial to developing rapid prototyping as a tissue engineering technique.

The researchers suggest that rapid prototyping overcomes many of the limitations of conventional scaffold techniques, such as stereolithography, which etches a block of material into shape. Rapid prototyping might one day allow , liver and muscle tissues to be constructed in the laboratory from a patient's own cells with close-to-natural detail ready for transplantation.

Source: Inderscience

Explore further: Ant colonies help evacuees in disaster zones

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists progress in successful tissue engineering

Mar 23, 2007

Tissue engineering is a relatively new field of basic and clinical science that is concerned, in part, with creating tissues that can augment or replace injured, defective, or diseased body parts.

Engineers create bone that blends into tendons

Aug 29, 2008

Engineers at Georgia Tech have used skin cells to create artificial bones that mimic the ability of natural bone to blend into other tissues such as tendons or ligaments. The artificial bones display a gradual ...

Inkjet printers can print human cells

Jan 19, 2005

Made-to-measure skin and bones, which could be used to treat burn victims or patients who have suffered severe disfigurements, may soon be a reality using inkjets which can print human cells. Scientists at The University of ...

Recommended for you

'Chief Yahoo' David Filo returns to board

25 minutes ago

Yahoo announced the nomination of three new board members, including company co-founder David Filo, who earned the nickname and formal job title of "Chief Yahoo."

Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work

35 minutes ago

Yahoo's recently fired chief operating officer, Henrique de Castro, left the Internet company with a severance package of $58 million even though he lasted just 15 months on the job.

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots

8 hours ago

A way of making hundreds—or even thousands—of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Freight train industry to miss safety deadline

9 hours ago

The U.S. freight railroad industry says only one-fifth of its track will be equipped with mandatory safety technology to prevent most collisions and derailments by the deadline set by Congress.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots

A way of making hundreds—or even thousands—of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Microsoft CEO is driving data-culture mindset

(Phys.org) —Microsoft's future strategy: is all about leveraging data, from different sources, coming together using one cohesive Microsoft architecture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday, both in ...

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, ...

New clinical trial launched for advance lung cancer

Cancer Research UK is partnering with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer to create a pioneering clinical trial for patients with advanced lung cancer – marking a new era of research into personalised medicines ...

More vets turn to prosthetics to help legless pets

A 9-month-old boxer pup named Duncan barreled down a beach in Oregon, running full tilt on soft sand into YouTube history and showing more than 4 million viewers that he can revel in a good romp despite lacking ...