<$BlogRSDURL$>
Hive Mind
Friday, January 21, 2005
 

Meatprinters


Apparantly researchers in Manchester have developed a way to custom construct human skin, bones, and organs using - get this - ink-jet printer technology. From the article:
Using the printers, they are able create 3-dimensional structures, known as 'tissue scaffolds'. The shape of the scaffold determines the shape of the tissue as it grows. The structures are created by printing very thin layers of a material repeatedly on top of each other until the structure is built. Each layer is just 10 microns thick (1,000 layers equals 1cm in thickness).

This method allows larger tissues to be grown than previously possible. The reason for this is the way in which the cells are inserted into the structures.

Before being fed into the printer, the cells are suspended in a nutrient rich liquid not dissimilar to ink, which ensures their survival. The cells are then fed into the printer and seeded directly into the structure as it is built. This avoids any 'sticking to the surface' which is a major disadvantage of current methods that infuse the cells into the structure after it has been built.

"The problem is getting cells into the interior of these constructions as they naturally stick to the sides of whatever they are being inserted into. If they stick to the sides then this limits the number of cells which can grow into tissues, and the lack of penetration also limits their size. By using inkjet printing we are able to seed the cells into the construction as we build it, which means 'sticking' isn't a problem," says Professor Derby.

Professor Derby believes the potential for this technology is huge: "You could print the scaffolding to create an organ in a day," he says.

Worldchanging (where I found this article) has posted some extremely interesting commentary regarding this technology:
As always, this research needs some time before getting to the point where it will affect our daily lives. But when translated into a shippable product, organ printers will have some pretty amazing implications. No longer having to worry about tissue rejection or a lack of available donor organs is one obvious result, and the possibility of more accurate (and aesthetically pleasing for the recipient) reconstructive surgery was one of the drivers of the research. If more complex organs could be created (as might be possible if the scaffolding system is combined with stem cell research), one can imagine a scenario where organ replacement is a faster, safer option than organ repair (such as open-heart surgery).

But this technology would have implications beyond the medical world. For example, this technology should work equally well for building non-human muscle tissue for consumption as meat. While the comparative expense would be enormous at first, artificially-grown real meat might have some distinct advantages: it would be cruelty-free, by definition; meat factories could be anywhere, would take up much less space than cattle ranches or chicken farms, and ostensibly produce much less waste (and methane!); fields now used to grow grain for livestock could instead grow food for people, or even become CO2 sequestration sites; and control over the "seed" cells would mean that prion contaminations (leading to mad cow disease) could be completely avoided. While "vat-grown" hamburgers have been a staple of science fiction stories for awhile now, the future may instead be in "meatprinters." When McDonald's buys Epson, you'll know that this future is near.

Oh how I long for the taste of a meatprinted hamburger!
 
Comments: Post a Comment

NEWS/BLOGS

23skidoo
Killswitch
Squidblog
Critical-v
SmartMobs
Digital-Falcon
Redbeard Gets Down
Reuters Alertnet
EurekAlert
New World Disorder
A Graboid Ate My Mommy
Lvx23
Science Daily
Indymedia
Boing Boing
Disinformation
Infoshop News
RealityCarnival
Technoccult
Posthuman Blues
Post-Atomic
Vortex Egg
Cult of the Dead Cow
Blog126
Anarchogeek
Mechanical Spirit
MySociety Blog
Nerdshit


LINKS/RESOURCES

Open Source, D.I.Y. Media/Tech:

DNAHack
Blackout Media Project
Biological Innovation for Open Society
Open Source Biotechnology
Downhill Battle
Hactivismo
Bureau of Inverse Technology
Carbon Defense League
2600
Critical Art Ensemble
TXTMob
Biotech Hobbyist Magazine
MySociety
Ubuntu Linux

Geopolitics:

Infoshop
CIA World Factbook
Spunk Library
Hyperhistory Online
Noborder Network
People's Global Action
Critical Resistance

Science/Math:

PlanetMath
Public Library of Science
MathWorld
Bioinformatics.org
Quantum Consciousness
MIT Biology Hypertextbook
NeuroPunk

Art/Culture/Misc.:

Ontogenesis
ELECTRONIC MUTAGENESIS
AvantGame
Art Crimes
Barbelith
Guns and Dope Party
Temple of the Screaming Electron
CTheory

Brain Tools:

Erowid
SMI2LE Nootropics
Bouncing Bear Botanicals

Online Books and Booksellers:

AK Press
Project Gutenberg
Autonomedia
Loompanics
Feral House

ARCHIVES

03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 /


Powered by Blogger