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Doctors 3D-print ‘living’ body parts – BBC News

by • February 15, 2016 • No Comments

Printed earImage copyrightWake ForestCustom-made, living body parts have been 3D-printed in a worthwhile advance for regenerative medicine, say scientists.
The sections of bone, muscle and cartilage all functioned normally when implanted into animals.
The breakthrough, published in Nature Bioinnovation, raises the hope of via living tissues to repair the body.
Experts defined the innovation, turn it intod in the US, as a “goose that quite does lay golden eggs”.
The thought of placing individual human cells in a exact pattern to replace a damaged jaw, missing ear or scarred heart muscle holds much promise.

But the field has been limited by the massive challenge of keeping the cells alive – they become starved of oxygen and nutrients in tissues thicker than 0.2 millimetres.
Sponge
The team at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre turn it intod a new technique that 3D-prints a tissue riddled with micro-channels, pretty like a sponge, to allow nutrients to penetrate the tissue.
Image copyrightWake ForestThe Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System – or Itop – combines a bio-degradeable plastic that gives the structure and a water-based gel that contains the cells and encourages them to grow.
When the structures were implanted into animals, the plastic broke down as it was replaced by a effortless, structural “matrix” of proteins generated by the cells.
Meanwhile, blood vessels and nerves grew into the implants.
Prof Anthony Atala, the lead researcher, said tissues may now be printed on a human scale.
Whilst the implants have the same durablity as human tissues, the researchers are now waiting to see how durable they are.
But Prof Atala said 3D printing was opening new doors for medicine.
He told the BBC News website: “Let’s say a patient presented with an injury to their jaw bone and there’s a segment missing.
“We’d bring the patient in, do the imaging and and so we may take the imaging data and transfer it through our software to drive the printing device to turn it into a piece of jawbone that may fit exactly in the patient.”
Image copyrightWake ForestImage caption Scan of broken jaw…
Image copyrightWake ForestImage caption …and the 3D printed living replacement Similar techniques in that the biodegradable scaffolding is created initially and and so soaked in cells are may already being utilized in patients.
Women were given lab-grown vaginas at the Wake Forest centre two years ago, but the range of treatments is again limited by keeping the cells alive.
Prof Atala added: “In this study we printed a wide range of tissue durablitys – of muscles as a soft tissue to cartilage and bone as a complex tissue revealing a whole range of tissue durablitys is possible.
“The hope is to go on work on these technologies to target other humans tissues as well.”
And ultimately they aim to print directly into a patient.
‘Golden goose’
Prof Martin Birchall, a surgeon at University College London, said the results were “striking”.
He told the BBC: “The prospect of printing human tissues and organs for implantation has been a real one for a few time, but I confess I did not assume to see such rapid progress.
“They have managed to turn it into what seems to be the goose that quite does lay golden eggs!”
He cautioned there was yet additional research to be done preceding the printing device may be utilized in patients.
But he concluded: “Given the scale of this breakthrough, progress in other fields, the resources on the market to the researchers at Wake Forest and the imperatives for human health, I ponder it can be less than a decade preceding surgeons like me are trialling customised printed organs and tissues. I can’t wait!”
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