Scientists have developed a new device for building muscles and bones by borrowing technology used in inkjet printers.
The teams from Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh School of Medicine use a type of inkjet printer, which uses bio-inks made up of growth hormones which are printed on a layer of stem cells to grow biological material.
In tests on mice the team grew muscle-derived stem cells (MDSC), which are used to strengthen damaged tissues. Last year the team showed how they could be used to repair damage after a heart attack.
The custom-built ink-jet printer can deposit bio-inks in any design on fibrin-coated slides containing MDSCs. Based on pattern, dose, or the growth factor used, the MDSCs could be directed when to grow into muscle or bone.
The work is a long way from being used for human cells, but the team is exploring ways of making cartilage and fats in the future.
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