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Regenerative medicine: Printing the organs

One of the great things is printing in three dimensions to reproduce exactly the shape of the original and the biological properties
One of the great things is printing in three dimensions to reproduce exactly the shape of the original and the biological properties

The bio-organic printing advances and represents a promising potential for regenerative medicine, especially for treating burns or replace cartilage, according to researchers.

"One of the things we made in our laboratory is to print - in three dimensions - the meniscus of a knee which has exactly the shape of the original and the same biological properties," said Hod Lipson of the University Cornell (New York) at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting this weekend in Washington.

Several research groups in the United States and Europe working on different types of cells, he told reporters, noting that the printing technology of three dimensional objects date thirty years, but its applications medical potential are much more recent. The researcher gave a demonstration for journalists in reproducing in about twenty minutes, using this "copier" particular copy, synthetic resin, in one ear.

Prevent organ rejection

The objective is first to work on simple as a cartilage tissue, which has few blood vessels to gradually replicate more complex organic structures, said the researcher. "It will take much longer before we can use these copies of organs for relocating directly in a human or an animal," admitted the scientist, but "one can imagine the potential of this approach.

Thus, "it would take cells from a donor, make them multiply in a culture before mixing them to a kind of ink to recreate an implant alive from an original," he said . This copy would be to avoid the phenomenon of rejection of transplanted organs and to have an implant alive, instead of a synthetic prosthesis.

Three-dimensional images

Dr. James Yoo, professor at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of North Carolina (southeast) works specifically on printing skin to accelerate the healing process for burn victims, including soldiers. "Up to 30% of all injuries and fatalities in the war affect the skin, the use of bio-printing meets the needs of those burnt," he said during the same presentation. "We have built machines that can be bio-printers brought about the wounded soldiers to deposit layers of skin cells printed in the burn," said the doctor, whose team has conducted successful experiments on mice.

"What is unique about this machine is a scanner that reproduces images in three dimensions to determine the precise number of cell layers to be deposited," he said. "If this technology development goes well, we can use it to treat wounded soldiers but also civilians in the coming years," predicts Dr. Yoo. For Vladimir Mironov, a professor of regenerative medicine at the University of South Carolina and author of another presentation at the AAAS, the technology of bio-printing of living tissue within 20 years could "afford to print complex structures which can be directly implanted into the human body by robots, and without the intervention of a surgeon.


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