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Printing Muscle and Bone
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Written by Gizmo   
Tuesday, 19 December 2006 20:00

Read the full story at Technology Review:

"Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh have successfully directed adult stem cells from mice to develop into bone and muscle cells with the aid of a custom-designed ink-jet printer. They say it's a first step toward better understanding tissue regeneration, which may one day lead to therapies for repairing damaged tissues, as occurs in osteoarthritis.

For years, tissue engineers have used souped-up printers, and in some cases off-the-shelf models, to print 'bio-inks.' These inks consist of anything from proteins to individual cells printed in microscopic patterns. By printing layer upon layer of cell patterns, scientists may one day be able to 'print' whole tissues or organs for replacement therapies.

Now Phil Campbell and his team at Carnegie Mellon have added a new branch to the budding field of bioprinting. Certain growth factors spur stem cells to morph into specific kinds of cells, such as bone or muscle. Campbell and his colleagues have successfully printed growth-factor solutions on the same slide, or 'paper', forming a scaffold onto which stem cells can interact and differentiate into bone or muscle cells side by side."

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