Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

3-D printer can build synthetic tissues

Date:
April 4, 2013
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
A custom-built programmable 3-D printer can create materials with several of the properties of living tissues, scientists have demonstrated.

A custom-built programmable 3D printer can create materials with several of the properties of living tissues, Oxford University scientists have demonstrated: Droplet network c.500 microns across with electrically conductive pathway between electrodes mimicking nerve.
Credit: Oxford University/G Villar

A custom-built programmable 3D printer can create materials with several of the properties of living tissues, Oxford University scientists have demonstrated.

The new type of material consists of thousands of connected water droplets, encapsulated within lipid films, which can perform some of the functions of the cells inside our bodies.

These printed 'droplet networks' could be the building blocks of a new kind of technology for delivering drugs to places where they are needed and potentially one day replacing or interfacing with damaged human tissues. Because droplet networks are entirely synthetic, have no genome and do not replicate, they avoid some of the problems associated with other approaches to creating artificial tissues -- such as those that use stem cells.

The team report their findings in this week's Science.

'We aren't trying to make materials that faithfully resemble tissues but rather structures that can carry out the functions of tissues,' said Professor Hagan Bayley of Oxford University's Department of Chemistry, who led the research. 'We've shown that it is possible to create networks of tens of thousands connected droplets. The droplets can be printed with protein pores to form pathways through the network that mimic nerves and are able to transmit electrical signals from one side of a network to the other.'

Each droplet is an aqueous compartment about 50 microns in diameter. Although this is around five times larger than living cells the researchers believe there is no reason why they could not be made smaller. The networks remain stable for weeks.

'Conventional 3D printers aren't up to the job of creating these droplet networks, so we custom built one in our Oxford lab to do it,' said Professor Bayley. 'At the moment we've created networks of up to 35,000 droplets but the size of network we can make is really only limited by time and money. For our experiments we used two different types of droplet, but there's no reason why you couldn't use 50 or more different kinds.'

The unique 3D printer was built by Gabriel Villar, a DPhil student in Professor Bayley's group and the lead author of the paper.

The droplet networks can be designed to fold themselves into different shapes after printing -- so, for example, a flat shape that resembles the petals of a flower is 'programmed' to fold itself into a hollow ball, which cannot be obtained by direct printing. The folding, which resembles muscle movement, is powered by osmolarity differences that generate water transfer between droplets.

Gabriel Villar of Oxford University's Department of Chemistry said: 'We have created a scalable way of producing a new type of soft material. The printed structures could in principle employ much of the biological machinery that enables the sophisticated behaviour of living cells and tissues.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gabriel Villar, Alexander D. Graham, Hagan Bayley. A Tissue-Like Printed Material. Science, 5 April 2013: Vol. 340 no. 6128 pp. 48-52 DOI: 10.1126/science.1229495

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "3-D printer can build synthetic tissues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404142457.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2013, April 4). 3-D printer can build synthetic tissues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404142457.htm
University of Oxford. "3-D printer can build synthetic tissues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404142457.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How A 'Rule Of Thumb' Could Slow Down Drinking

How A 'Rule Of Thumb' Could Slow Down Drinking

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) A study suggests people who follow a "rule of thumb" when pouring wine dispense less than those who don't have a particular amount in mind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins