5 February 2013, 18:21

Human embryonic stem cells 3D-printed for the first time

Human embryonic stem cells 3D-printed for the first time

Scientists are one step closer to developing the first printer for embryonic human stem cells. In a new study, researchers from the University of Edinburgh have created a cell printer that prints out living embryonic stem cells.

The new stem cell printer technology could be used to produce 3D human tissues for testing new drugs, grow human organs, or even print cells directly inside the body.

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are obtained from human embryos and can develop into any cell type in an adult person, from muscles and bones to brain tissues. This attribute makes them ideal for use in regenerative medicine — repairing, replacing and regenerating damaged cells, tissues or organs.

Biomedical engineer Utkan Demirci from Harvard University Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital believes thinks the new study is taking it in an exciting direction. "This technology could be really good for high-throughput drug testing," Demirci told. One can build mini-tissues from the bottom up, using a repeatable, reliable method, he said. Building whole organs is the long-term goal, Demirci said, though he cautioned that it "may be quite far from where we are today."

Voice of Russia, Liver Science

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