Scientists Produce 3D-Printed Embryonic Stem Cells

For the first time, scientists have produced human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) using 3D printing. They are utterly amazing, and they could be used to reproduce kidneys, hearts and other organs in the future.

A team at Heriot-Way University in Scotland loaded up stem cells as ink for the 3D printer. Using a valve, the team pushed out living cells into droplets of new cells in uniform sizes. The researchers would adjust the nozzle on the printer to control the very diameter of the cells. And what's even cooler is these the organisms were capable of differentiation, meaning they can form into various types of tissues.

Other tries at this replication have not worked as well because they've produced unstable results. However, 99 per cent of the cells that came out of the printer were still usable.

So why is this important? hESCs are like blank slates, meaning they can be used to create any type of tissue. Think lung transplants, liver transplants, skin grafts and so forth. Or 3D printed cells could be planted into existing organs to help regenerate parts that have been damaged. Furthermore, it would mean a limit on animal testing. Because rather than testing on these live critters, scientists could use real, 3D-printed organs for drug trials.

It's totally OK to be in awe of 3D-printed scissors, but this development is on an entirely different plane of amazing. [PopSci]

Picture: Colin Hattersly, Will Shu/Biofabrication


Comments

    So now that we are creating them rather than pulling them from living things.. does that mean they can get around the politics on these things and get to work making cures for humanity?

      If you lived to 1,000 years old what would you do with the extra 900 or so years?

      We've actually been able to make stem cells out of blood and kidney epithelial cells for a while now.
      The politics on 'don't kill babies to make stem cells' have literally never been a legitimate scientific argument.
      They have as much sway as the 'flu shots cause autism' garbage.

        Think you mean the "measles vaccine causing autism" garbage. Was one doctor who ran a flawed trial and faked results.

    The scource link says "page not found"; could we get a fix for that?

      popsci.com has never been accessible for me, only popsci.com.au. I think they block non-US IPs. Which is annoying because the Aus site doesn't have all the US articles.

    "For the first time, scientists have produced human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) using 3D printing."
    "A team at Heriot-Way University in Scotland loaded up stem cells as ink for the 3D printer."

    Which is it? The opening line makes it sound like they created hESCs from who-knows-what but the next para makes it sound like they simply loaded up hESCs into the ink-tank and squirted them out into some other substrate to form 'cells'...

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