Feeds

Boffins develop human skin printer

Live cell ink-jet-type process

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Scientists at Manchester University have built a printer which can output human skin suitable for grafts, the Manchester News reports.

The device uses human cells suspended in a solution which are printed onto a plastic matrix. It works in the same way as an ink-jet printer and is capable of producing made-to-measure strips of skin ready for grafting. The plastic matrix is designed to dissolve after attachment to the patient.

Although several rival teams are working on similar projects around the globe, lead boffin Professor Brian Derby says his squad is the only one "to work out how to print human cells without destroying them in the process".

The Manchester team is now aiming to produce bone and cartilage in the near future. Derby said: "It's not like printing a sheet of paper. We can print a few millimetres in depth and build it up layer-upon-layer until, in principle, we could produce bone fragments the size of a golf ball."

The fact that the process holds the possibility of custom-made replacement parts is the most promising area of the research. Derby noted: "It is difficult for a surgeon to reconstruct any complex disfiguring of the face using CT scans, but with this technology we are able to build a fragment which will fit exactly. We can place cells in any designed position to grow tissue or bone."

Derby hopes that, with clinical trials, the human skin printer might start to deliver practical results within five years, but admitted that his team is "still working out how to print cells on to the 3D plastic scaffolds to produce bone or cartilage". ®

Related stories

Mice grow monkey sperm
Boffins to filter duff sperm
Boffins decode Chromosome 16

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.