The latest step of 3D printing is towards the printing of human embryonic stem cells which will help to grow organs. Researchers have already grown 2D cultures of living cells using inkjet printers but printing blobs of cells rather then flat sheets is closer to real tissue.
The human stem cells that are used is pluripotent, which means they are capable of becoming a cell in any type of tissue and making them attractive to those who are trying to grow new organs. But it is hard to print them so the printer has modified to valve-based nozzle so it gently squirts out cells in blobs rather than a single layer.
Parents can take advantage of this kind of technology by "harvesting" the stem cells from their children's own baby teeth and wisdom teeth, so called as dental stem cells. Keeping these stem cells aside for the future and waiting for the amazing advancements in regenerative medicine that are yet to unfold.
The process involves, loading of cells into two separate reservoirs in the printer and they were then deposited onto a plate in a uniformed pattern.
Using stem cells as the “ink” in a 3-D printer, researchers hope to eventually build 3-D printed organs and tissues.
A team used a specifically designed valve based technique to deposit whole live cells on to a surface in a specific pattern.
The cells were floating in a “bio-ink,” to use the terminology of the researchers who developed this technique. Now, they were able to squeeze tiny droplets, containing five cells or less per droplet, in different shapes and sizes. For producing clumps of cells, they printed out cells first and then overlaid those with cell-free bio-ink, which results in larger droplets or spheroids of cells. Then the cells would group together inside these spheroids.