Scientists Print Tissue Types to Meet Needs
According to the latest Science News, the need for tissue and organs is now being met by simply allowing them to be printed out. Scientists have refined technology that has been developed over the last several years, so that they are now able to produce different types of tissue on demand. The organ transplant scandals that have made it even more difficult to find organ donors have been an area of concern, as the number of people who need transplants and the technology to provide them is only expected to grow.
Today, there are continually stories about how current research is leading to greater success in replacing cells, tissue and organs. This newest advance is hoped to be the one that will close the gap between the need for donated organs and the decline in those that are available.
While an inkjet printer is not typically considered to be a piece of scientific equipment, it is a key component of the ability to print artificial tissue. The scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology in Stuttgart have developed bio-inks that can be used for this new printing technology. Transparent liquids composed of a natural tissue matrix mixed with living cells are made with a collagen-derived gelatin that is modified to keep the bio-inks fluid. Afterwards, they are IV irradiated to crosslink and cure, so that they form hydrogels. The researchers have the ability to control chemical modification of the bio molecules so that there are various strengths and swelling characteristics produced among the resulting gels. This allows researchers to imitate the properties of natural tissue, including those of adipose to solid cartilage.