Lab Proves Transplanted Skin Can Grow Hair

Recently technology has made huge strides in providing us with new ways of replacing damaged body parts, with the ability to 3d print organs being one of the most revolutionary changes that could soon see us being able to replace damaged organs. Now scientists in Japan are showing off again by showing that transplanted skin can grow hair.

Shown in the image above, the transplanted skin is marked with a green protein and clearly shows that the transplanted skin is actually growing hair. The process started by taking stem cells from a mouse’ gums and was crafted into multiple layered pieces of skin, sweat glands and hair follicles included. Upon being transplanted to a “nude mouse”, the skin integrated with the new host and even grew the hair shown above.

With the results showing promise the team says that the end result may be 5-10 from being translated to human research. Dr Takashi Tsuji from the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology in Kobe was part of the team that conducted the research and is quoted as saying:

“Up until now, artificial skin development has been hampered by the fact that the skin lacked the important organs, such as hair follicles and exocrine glands, which allow the skin to play its important role in regulation

With this new technique, we have successfully grown skin that replicates the function of normal tissue.

We are coming ever closer to the dream of being able to recreate actual organs in the lab for transplantation

With so many breakthroughs and advanced in science thanks to technology it’s hard not to agree with the dream of being able to recreate and replace organs with those built in a lab.

Functional Human Hearts Generated From Skin Cells

Doctors are constantly being helped by their friends in the technology industry, from 3D printing ears to making veins in a cotton candy machine, people are now able to start replacing damaged parts of themselves with items created from their genetic make up. This technology may have gone one step further with a research group claiming to have created functional human hearts.

The new technique could see people avoiding waiting lists and the risk of their immune system rejecting the new organ. With a low risk of an immune response, the new technique could see a 100% acceptance amongst transplants.

By using skin cells from a patient, the team were able to generate the cardiac muscles found in a heart. In order to turn it into a transplantable heart it needed a structure, something that would take time to develop. Using 73 donor hearts that were considered unsuitable for transplantation, the team removed the living cells leaving only the neutral network required for the heart.

With the ability to replace body parts with artificially grown organs appearing quicker and quicker, it won’t be long before we can repair defects in body parts and ensure that people who suffer injuries to their organs can repair them as easily as a cut on their arm.

Doctors Implant 3D-Printed Vertebrae

3D Printers have helped medicine come a long way, with the ability to customise and create things in an easy and cost-effective way that previously would have been impossible to do. 3D-printed ribs, to livers, eyes and even ears. While these are all amazing feats, they have always been generic items, things which are custom but not unique in their design. At the end of 2015, this changed though when a patient was implanted with two 3D printed vertebrae.

Vertebrae are the discs that cling to your spine and are responsible for giving you a lot of your movement. The patient in question suffered from a form of cancer that had formed on the top two of his vertebrae, potentially threatening his spinal cord as it developed. The top two vertebrae are the ones responsible for your heads movement, meaning that grafting one from another piece of bone or material would be particularly difficult given their custom nature.

The solution was to work with an Australian medical device manufacturer, Anatomics, who using a 3D printer created the top two vertebrae using a 3D printer and some titanium. Ralph Mobbs, the neurosurgeon who performed the surgery stated that it was “a pure delight” to perform the surgery knowing that you had already done it on a model.

The surgery itself took 15 hours to perform and given the location was not without risk. Described as “essentially disattaching the patient’s head from his neck and taking the tumour out and reattaching his head back into his neck”. The surgery was a success though and Mobbs was able to not only remove the tumor but also implant the prosthetic into the patient.

Is there anything people can’t do when they work together with technology and each other?

We Can Now Create 3D Printed Organs!

3D printing is not a new area for doctors and surgeons to use, they’ve managed to 3D print new ribs and a sternum for a cancer patient and that was only the start. 3D printing has come a long way, being able to print everything from a bike to a supercar, a PC case or even a houses. The problem is that they are all solid things, inanimate objects and items that we use on occasion, the problem with organs is that we use them everyday and need to keep alive. Previous attempts to grow human organs have had trouble with the latter stage, with it proving difficult to give an organ what it needs to grow, this has now come one step closer to being solved thanks to 3D printing.

Published in Nature Biotechnology, the recent advancement means that not only can organs be “printed” but they are kept alive and retain their strength long after creation. They do this by creating a lattice of layers, with holes going throughout the organ, this means that when it is still developing it can absorb the nutrients and chemicals needed, filling out and retaining its strength as it absorbs its needed Oxygen.

This solution is a step forward, being described as the “geese that lays the golden egg”, and certainly seems more in line with common ideas than using a candy floss machine to create blood vessels.

The Key to Making Human Organs? Cotton Candy!

Technology and science help people do amazing things. From letting people walk again to letting dogs enjoy a game of fetch with their owner, technology has come a long way in its quest to help everyone. One of the key focuses for science and technology to expand on is its ability to replace damaged or malfunctioning organs like a heart or even your skin. The problem with creating organs is it’s expensive, often costing hundreds and thousands just to get the technology you need to make them, so imagine our surprise when people started creating organs like cotton candy.

Using a $40 cotton candy machine from Target, Leon Bellan reports that he was able to create a cube of artificial capillaries. While this may seem like a weird way of creating something, the results speak for themselves, lasting for over a week. In contrast, other methods rarely last as long, meaning that the technique not only is cheaper but has so far produced surprisingly positive results.

Bellan got the idea from the saying that electrospun fibers, the technique that is often used to create artificial capillaries, “look like silly string, or Cheese Whiz, or cotton candy”. The more impressive result is the size of the threads that the cotton candy machine creates, averaging at about three microns while an average capillary is 10 microns. Compared to electrospun fibers, which are often ten times larger too big, the size meant that it was already a success before the week was over.

German Youth Club Produce Sweet ‘Floppy’ Music

I’m sure everyone has an old floppy disk drive under their bed or in a box in the attic. How long since you used it? A year? 2? 5? Well a group of german individuals went and rounded up 49 of these relics, joined them together to produce the music of the 8-bit apocalypse.

The instrument, known as the Floppy Orgel or Floppy Organ to the English-speaking world; was devised by a german electronics youth club. It consists of 49 floppy drives and some fancy custom 3D printed parts. To power the ‘instrument’, it’s all hooked up to an Arduino Uno running Sammy1Am’s GitHub “Moppy” Code, which converts standard MIDI signals into motor pulses.

The most intriguing part of this build is how well it works by a simple keyboard interface, despite a small delay between pressing the key and the drive operating; it sounds pretty good. The group originally planned on producing a four-drive unit, but decided against it for the manly ‘go big or go home’.

“Musical floppy drives are made by manipulating the internal motor that moves the read/write heads over the floppy disk. Each floppy disk is divided into 80 tracks radially from the centre, which the notoriously noisy floppy drive motor can send the read/write head to. By pulsing the motor at any of those 80 positions, representing different frequencies, you can create a particular musical note. And, because floppy drives don’t contain their own controller, they’re far easier to manipulate with third-party boards and tools like the Arduino.”

I actually quite like the sound of it, reminds me of video games from the early 90’s. Do you know of any similar musical instruments made from computer parts? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information.

Scientists Work Out How To 3D Print Vascular Networks

3D Printing has come a long way, from objects to food and now even human skin and meat. One of the major problems when attempting to print human meat was printing out the vascular network, meaning all the blood vessels and ventricles. However, it appears that even the latter problem has been recently solved by scientists from the University of Sydney, Harvard, Stanford and MIT.

The scientists have apparently solved the problem by creating a skeleton of vessels, which was then used as a basis to grow human cells around it. Once the process was complete and stable, the scientists dissolved the 3D printed material, leaving only the vascular network.

“Imagine being able to walk into a hospital and have a full organ printed – or bio-printed, as we call it – with all the cells, proteins and blood vessels in the right place, simply by pushing the ‘print’ button in your computer screen,” said Dr. Luiz Bertassoni of the University of Sydney. “While recreating little parts of tissues in the lab is something that we have already been able to do, the possibility of printing three-dimensional tissues with functional blood capillaries in the blink of an eye is a game changer.”

Building vascular networks is a big thing, but using them is even greater than imagined. It appears that the vessels are then used to transport nutrients through bioprinted tissue in order to achieve better cell differentiation and growth. Summing it all up, scientists are now able to create ‘organs’ in the lab, having the scientists believe that this will eventually lead to true organ regeneration.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of 3DPrint.com

3D Printed Artificial Liver May Soon Be A Reality

3D printing seems to turn up a major innovation almost every week, and the prospect of a 3D printed liver is one of the most incredible ones so far. Being able to create the vital organ without the need for a donor could obliterate waiting lists and save a lot of lives.

A company called Organovo has already managed to create a working liver using 3D printing, which was kept alive for 40 days in the lab. The main issue was keeping it alive longer as there was no fresh source of blood to the cells, 3D printing has (until now) been tricky when it comes to printing the veins and arteries needed to keep the liver working naturally. Using fibroblasts and endothelial cells to create the system, the company says they can now print at just 500 microns.

The company isn’t the only one making the effort here, with a prize of $1 million up for grabs to the first team who create a working 3D printer, not to mention the fame that will go with achieving such a feat. The team predicts they will achieve the task next year and we don’t doubt them one bit, 2014 is going to be an incredible year for 3D printing.

Thank you T3 for providing us with this information.