Researchers from Oxford report that they have successfully printed a three-dimensional structure from living cells. This experiment paves the way for the creation of a universal platform for 3D printing of living tissues, with the prospect of recreating a synthetic analogue of any part of the human body.
The problem with working with living cells is that they tend to shift during printing and have a tendency to spontaneous suicide. To prevent this from happening, the Oxford scientists decided to wrap each cell in a personalized lipid coating before 3D printing. It turns out a kind of "brick" - a very convenient element for drawing up various designs.
A 3D printer for living tissue functions the same as a device for working with polymers, but the printed circuitry itself is completely different. It must be borne in mind that the finished product will not be stable, it must live, grow, and various biological processes will take place in it. Otherwise, the result will be a useless patch of synthetic flesh.
The technology of printing a fragment of a body or an entire organ based on the DNA of a particular person opens up new biomedical possibilities for scientists. So, it can be tested for compatibility with allergens, drugs, reactions to toxins, radiation or poorly studied substances, without putting the patient himself at risk. In the future, 3D printing of living tissues may become a new branch of regenerative medicine.