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3-D Printer Makes Synthetic Tissues from Watery Drops

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Synthetic tissues self coil.
(image by Villar et al. Science/AAAS)
In the University of Oxford, a 3-D printer with a difference. While most such printers create three-dimensional objects by laying down metals or plastics in thin layers, this one prints in watery droplets. Rather than making dolls or artworks or replica dinosaur skulls, it fashions the droplets into something a bit like living tissue. Each of your cells, whether it's a neuron or muscle cell, is basically a ball of liquid encased by a membrane. The membrane is made from fat-like molecules called lipids, which line up next to one another to create two layers. And that's exactly what Villar's 3-D printer makes - balls of liquid encased by a double-layer of lipids. These applications are far-off, as is the team's long-term goal of creating tissues that fuse these droplets with actual living cells. Perhaps, with more development, they could even be used to support or replace failing organs.

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[[VID140]]A 3-D printer makes a block of tissue-li... by Kyle McDermott on Friday, Apr 5, 2013 at 7:39:43 PM