Monday, November 14, 2005

Printing New Organs

By Lois M. Collins
Deseret Morning News

An emerging branch of medicine called "organ printing" takes a patient's own healthy cells and uses a printer, cell-based "bio-ink" and "bio-paper" to create tissue to repair a damaged organ.
Now a hydrogel or "bio-paper" developed by a University of Utah College of Pharmacy professor is a key component of a $5 million National Science Foundation-sponsored study that includes organ printing.
"Think of taking a blood vessel — a cylindrical object — and trying to reconstruct it in 3D with two-dimensional slices," said U. Presidential Professor of Medicinal Chemistry Glenn D. Prestwich, who created the hydrogel. To make the cylinder, those flat doughnut sections are literally printed, one thin layer of cells and hydrogel at a time, the platform moving away from the printer's "bio-ink"-delivering needles as the cylinder grows.
The cells in the gel are alive and will begin to move from one side to the other, one "doughnut" to the other, fusing and interweaving to form a complete, living cylinder.

The NSF study will try first to print blood vessels and cardiovascular networks. Once they prove it can be done, the scientists will look at more complex organs such as livers and kidneys and simpler but more mechanical organs like the esophagus, Prestwich said.
The hydrogel has other uses. Besides use in organ printing, Prestwich believes it is about ready for prime time in basic medicine applications.
Experts believe that millions of people who need transplants eventually will benefit from organ printing. "I believe in five years we're going to be able to print simple organs, such as a cardiovascular network or a urethra," Prestwich said. | U. makes a healing 'bio-paper'


Post a Comment

<< Home