A research project at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland in partnership with stem cell technology company Roslin Cellab are trying to find a way to produce an exact copy of organs through a 3-D printing process with the use of stem cells.
The printer works by creating 3D spheroids using embryonic cell cultures contained in a ‘bio ink’ medium, which appears as little bubble but each droplet has five or more stem cells. The process allows the copying of the traits of the patient’s organs, creating an exact duplicate of it.
“In the longer term, we envisage the technology being further developed to create viable 3D organs for medical implantation from a patient’s own cells, eliminating the need for organ donation, immune suppression, and the problem of transplant rejection,” said Dr. Will Shu, who is one of the members of the ambitious research project.
The best thing about it is the stem cells used in previous bio printing are viable again for future use after surviving the process.
“This confirms that this printing process did not appear to damage the cells or affect the viability of the vast majority of dispensed cells,” stated in a research released by the team.
For the first time in human civilization, human embryonic stem cells have successfully been printed and could be a precursor to printing out organs in years to come. Moreover, the process could also help printing out human tissue for drug testing.
The groundbreaking findings have recently been published in Biofabrication with the title “Development of a valve-based cell printer for the formation of human embryonic stem cell spheroid aggregates.”