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article imageNew technology for making living tissue

By Tim Sandle     Jan 22, 2015 in Science
A new method for constructing large tissues from living components of three-dimensional micro-tissues has been developed. Researchers hope that the process can one day building entire organs.
The developed micro-tissues are of a three-dimensional shape and they consist of thousands to millions of living cells. The cells keep the tissue alive by introducing nutrients and removing toxic substances. This is achieved through a device dubbed 'BioP3'. The 3-p’s are for pick, place, and perfuse.
With the process, researchers have managed to build tissue structures in different shapes, including spheres, rods, rings and slabs. These are created through a micro-molding method that pushes cells together so that they self-assemble and go onto form these complex shapes. Now, the new research paper shows, there is a device to build even bigger tissues by combining those living components.
The process takes place within the BioP3. The device consists of two chambers. Here, one side is used for storing the living cellular parts and the second side, a bigger chamber, is for the construction. The box can be manipulated by an operator to control a nozzle, which in turn controls the movements.
One of the structures built resembles a honeycomb slab. This slab is made up of some 250,000 cells and it is around 2 millimeters thick. Remarkably, this is a density of cells consistent with that of human organs. Moreover, the structure could, in theory, continue to grow with sufficient nutrients and under the correct environmental conditions.
Various cells were used in the study. These included liver cells, ovarian cells, and breast cancer cells. each of these were sufficiently distinct in order to demonstrate the robustness of the method.
It is hoped that future generations of the method will enable larger structures to be made from small living micro-tissue components leading to the production of entire organs such as livers, pancreases, or kidneys.
The findings have been published in the journal Tissue Engineering Part C. The research is titled “Bio-Pick, Place, and Perfuse: A New Instrument for 3D Tissue Engineering.”
More about 3D printing, Tissue, Cells, Organs, Stem cells
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