Human blood cells

3D printing is poised to become a major technological advancement in treating injuries and illnesses that cause tissue damage. For scientists, creating artificial tissue with 3D printing has been a challenge. As the 3D printed structure grows in size, cells often move and compromise the tissue’s structural integrity.

New work from Oxford University addresses this problem. By encasing cells in nanoliter sized droplets of fat molecules, researchers are able to build new tissue drop by drop. The fat molecules allow the new tissue to hold its shape.

The team from Oxford has stated that their goal is to manufacture biological tissue on an industrial scale. Our expert, Jernej Turnsek, a graduate student in Harvard’s Biological and Biomedical Sciences program, highlighted a few potential challenges researchers will face. Currently, the group can 3D print with two different types of cells, but human tissue often contains many types of cells. Researchers will have to confirm that their manufacturing process works on a wider variety of cell types. Once scientists are then able to work with larger and more complex tissue, they’ll also need to develop a method for transporting oxygen to the 3D printed cells.

Acknowledgments: Many Thanks to Jernej Turnsek a graduate student in Harvard’s Biological and Biomedical Sciences program

Managing Correspondent: Emily Kerr

Media Coverage: Scientists Find New Way to ‘Print’ Living Tissue

Scientific Article: High-Resolution Patterned Cellular Constructs by Droplet-Based 3D Printing

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