The body’s organs consist of a number of specialized cells that are arranged into organized structures and held together by connective tissue. In principle, it long appeared to be impossible to recreate all the intricate cell structures of a liver or a heart, for example, but the development of 3D printers has given researchers new hope. A 3D printer can – layer by layer – place all the specialized cells in exactly the right place.
However, when cells are pressed through the printer nozzle they are exposed to great forces, and most of them die. Associate Professor Daniel Aili, Linköping University, is developing a material that may protect the cells during the printing process and support them in their new environment when they have been printed as an organ. The material – a cell-friendly hydrogel – will also be specially adapted so it contains substances that encourage the cells to develop into the desired tissue.
In addition to producing material for 3D cell printing, Daniel Aili will develop material that supports traditional cell culture and stem cell treatments, where the cells are injected into the body. If the cells receive optimal support there is an increased chance of successful treatment.
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Read more about Daniel Aili at liu.se
Photo: Markus Marcetic