none

3D PRINT A BRAIN

01-08-2017
by 
in 

A massive struggle in medical technology is growing replacement nerve cells for use in regenerative therapy. Now, like with many other challenges, 3D printing might come to the rescue. 

Scientists in Australia have used a 3D printer to create nerve cells found in the brain using a "bio-ink" made from stem cells.

The research brings technology a step closer to making replacement brain tissue derived from a patient's own skin or blood cells to help treat conditions such as brain injury, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and schizophrenia.

The bio-ink is made of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), which are capable of growing to replace any kind of cell in the body (much like stem cell), and possibly form replacement body tissues and even whole organs, given the right environment. 

Jeremy Crook, who led the research, said the ability to customise brain tissue from a person's own body tissue was better for transplantation. 

Dr Crook said many neuropsychiatric disorders result from an imbalance of key chemicals called neurotransmitters, which are produced by specific nerve cells in the brain.

For example, he said, defective serotonin and GABA-producing nerve cells are implicated in schizophrenia and epilepsy while defective dopamine-producing cells are implicated in Parkinson's disease.

The team used 3D printing to make neurones involved in producing GABA and serotonin, as well as support cells called neuroglia, they reported in the journal Advanced Healthcare Material.

In the future, they plan to print neurones that produce dopamine.

"We might want to make a tissue that specifically generates that neurotransmitter for grafting into the brain of a Parkinson's patient," said Dr Crook.
"That's absolutely achievable."

To make the neurones, Dr Crook and colleagues used their bio-ink to print layers of a hatched pattern to create a 5 millimetre-sized cube.

They then "crosslinked" the cube into a firm jelly-like substance.

Growth factors and nutrients were then fed into the holes of this spongey "scaffold", encouraging the stem cells to grow and turn into neurons and support cells, linking up to form tissue. Waste was also removed via the holes in the scaffold.

Dr Crook said once scaled up, blood vessels would be needed, but small transplants could be theoretically possible using the tissue developed so far.

Related news & editorials

  1. 24.05.2019
    24.05.2019
    by      In
    High cycle rates and loads, for example, in welding systems, indexing tables or the packaging industry, are extremely demanding for slewing rings. In order to withstand this, Treotham has been offering slide-supported igus slewing ring bearings in its product range for 15 years.
    Between the inner... Read More
  2. 24.05.2019
    24.05.2019
    by      In
    If mould develops in a ventilation system, the spores are distributed throughout a building, vehicle or aircraft, and can easily be breathed into the respiratory tract, creating a serious health hazard. To avoid this risk, designers rely not only on the right ventilation technology, but also on... Read More
  3. 24.05.2019
    24.05.2019
    by      In
    The Socomec Digiware S AC is a compact power metering and monitoring device suitable for applications in data centres, infrastructure and industry. It can be installed in existing or new electrical panels, and its three integrated current sensors can measure one three-phase or three single-phase... Read More
  4. 24.05.2019
    24.05.2019
    by      In
    As part of its goal to provide best-in-class resources and services to its customers in more than 220 countries and territories, Mouser Electronics offers a free online inventory management tool and companion mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
    The innovative and easy-to-use system helps... Read More