Bioprinter stacks living tissue in oil
Scientists aim to create stable tissue for transplants, etc., by 3D printing cell-containing water drops in oil.
3D prints of living cells, bioprints, have long been requested by doctors. Thanks to a series of scientific breakthroughs, 3D printed tissue and organs for experiments and transplants are now within reach.
Among the challenges of bioprint is to make the cells remain in place and prevent the tissue from collapsing under its own weight. UK scientists solved the problem by encapsulating water drops filled with 30-40 million cells per cm3 in thin membranes, which hold the cells in place, when they are printed. So, the living cells are supported, as the structure is built.
Scientists hope that the method can produce large pieces of tissue made of different cell types. Other scientists have 3D printed blood vessel networks, and solid structures such as bones are already a fact of life.