Scientists create an inkjet printer that makes bone or muscle cells (kind of)


stemcells.jpgIt’s perhaps the first recorded case of a printer that when you buy a refill, it GIVES you an arm and a leg. Etc etc. In truth, news that researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh have created a ‘bio-ink’ printer isn’t quite the ‘HP laserjet spewing out limbs’ vision you might think. Sadly.

But it’s still pretty impressive. The system prints unique bio-ink patterns which direct adult muscle-derived stem cells from mice to differentiate into both muscle cells and bone cells. Yes, I am quoting from the press release, but I’m an Arts grad innit. I don’t understand this stuff.

What I think it means is that at some point in the future, such printers could be used to help cells grow which could be used to repair muscle, bone and heart tissue in humans. Something like that. Oh, just read the announcement. If you’re suitably biological, you’ll get a clearer idea there…

Stuart Dredge