Feeds

Boffins develop human skin printer

Live cell ink-jet-type process

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Infographic

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

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.