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(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); It’s Possible to Grow a 3-D Printed Ear on a Mouse’s Back - Algeria latest news

This unattached ear bathed in pink goo may look like a freaky find from Frankenstein’s laboratory, but it’s actually the product of a decade worth of medical research with 3-D printing.

Bioengineers from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina crafted the ear along with a jawbone, skull bone and skeletal muscle using what they call an “integrated tissue and organ printing system.” They then implanted them into mice and rats and found that the 3-D printed biological structures not only stayed alive for several months, but grew.

The team members published the blueprints behind their constructions this week in the journal Nature Biotechnology. In the past, medical researchers have created similar chunks of tissue and organ prototypes using 3-D printers loaded with live cells, but many of those prints were either structurally unfit for transplantation or unable to survive within a host.

Scientists have placed human-size ear structures into rodents before, but those ears were not 3-D printed, or did not keep their structure for long or did not grow cartilage and blood vessels as this one did.

Though we are still a ways from implanting 3-D printed hearts and kidneys into mice or rats, these are steps toward creating replacement organs that can be transplanted into people. More than 120,000 Americans are currently waiting for lifesaving transplants according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and the researchers said their printing technique could one day produce clinically useful tissues and organs.

The new machine works similarly to traditional 3-D printers in that it squirts out layer upon layer of material to form its product. But rather than use plastic, this printer uses a mix of human, mice, rat or rabbit cells and gelatin as its ink. The machine combines its primary building material, called hydrogel, with a biodegradable plastic to produce a stable structure strong enough to keep its shape upon transplantation. Both materials allow oxygen and blood to flow through the printed tissue, keeping it alive within its host.

In this experiment the researchers inserted the ear beneath the skin of a mouse’s back and found that several months later the rodent created blood vessels that attached to the printed ear and enabled it to thrive. The researchers also inserted muscle tissue printed from their machine into a rat, which later developed both blood vessels and nerves to the implant.

The team hopes that similar outcomes will occur if they implant their 3-D printed biostructures into people, and they plan to conduct human trials next.

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Tag(s) : #Technology

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