Scientists 'print' 3D object with stem cells

2013-02-05 11:50

(Kyoto University, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Paris – Scientists on Monday said that for the first time they had printed 3D objects using human embryonic stem cells, furthering the quest to fabricate transplantable organs.

Once fine-tuned, the technology should allow scientists to make three-dimensional human tissue in the lab, eliminating the need for organ donation or testing on animals, they reported.

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) can replicate indefinitely and become almost any type of cell in the human body.

They are touted as a source of replacement tissue, fixing nearly anything from malfunctioning hearts and lungs, to damaged spines, Parkinson's disease or even baldness.

Scientists have previously tested 3D printing, which uses inkjet technology, with other types of cells, including adult stem cells.

But until now hESCs, which are more versatile than mature ones, have proven too fragile.

"This is a scientific development which we hope and believe will have immense valuable long-term implications for reliable, animal-free drug testing and in the longer term, to provide organs for transplant on demand," said Jason King from British stem cell company Roslin Cellab, which took part in the work.

The team used a specially-designed "valve-based" printer that deposited a "bio ink" of liquid containing laboratory-cultivated hESCs.

The cells are forced out with a tiny blast of air, and the flow is controlled by the opening and closing of a microvalve.

"We are able to print millions of cells within minutes," said co-author Will Shu of the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

"The printer is similar to the size of a standard desktop-size laser printer."

The living cells are printed onto a culture dish and left to aggregate together to form "what we call a spheroid, like... a little ball," Shu said.

Each spheroid was smaller than 1mm.

The study appears in Biofabrication, a journal published by Britain's Institute of Physics (IOP).

The experiment was not designed to create anything but to demonstrate a method that did not damage the delicate cells.

"Most importantly, the printed hESCs maintained their pluripotency, the ability to be differentiated into any other cell type," the IOP said in a statement.

Theoretically, the team can print any shape, but is not yet able to recreate a human organ, which needs a mesh of blood vessels.

Challenges

"The challenge for printing a whole organ is to have this vascular structure inside it to feed it, allowing the tissue to survive in the long term," explained Shu.

"We have our first step towards that."

Another big hurdle is fine-tuning the science of instructing embryonic stem cells to become specific types of tissue.

In the short term, said Shu, his team is seeking to print 3D liver tissue, which has one of the simplest of biological structures.

This could then be used for laboratory drug testing, "which would hopefully eliminate the use of animals," he said.

"I expect this technology can be realised in one or two years' time."

One idea behind the search for replacement organs is to grow the cells using a patient's own DNA to avert transplant rejection.

But the sector has been dogged by objections over the use of early-stage embryos, where the most adaptable, or pluripotent, cells are found.

- SAPA
Read more on:    stem cell research  |  research
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
25 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Get fit on a budget

It’s time to throw the “I can’t afford to exercise” excuse out the window.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Tips for paddling your first Dusi
Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be in the mood to philosophize and socialize and expand your mind on various discussions and group activities. You could...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.