Although 3D printing did offer a viable alternative along with organs on a chip, given the complexities of living cells even these can't be replicated on a clinical scale. New research from the University of Twente shows promise.
Technology has helped scientists understand the human anatomy, but even with all the inventions, we have not been able to replicate the functions of the human body. Although 3D printing did offer a viable alternative along with organs on a chip, given the complexities of living cells even these can’t be replicated on a clinical scale. New research from the University of Twente shows promise. According to a paper published in Science, a team of researchers has been able to create living cell structures using fluidic technology, ie, fluid motion. Not only are the structures stable, unlike other processes—heat—they don’t end up killing living cells. The process requires a very narrow tube dispensing liquids at to create a hollow cylinder. More important, it keeps the cell structure intact even when one tries to increase the size of the object.
But the technology is not perfect, with the tube dispensing liquids at only microlitres per minute, it would take hours before it can replicate any organ. Besides, the current technique solves the problem of keeping cells alive and does not delve into the issue of breathable cells or ones that can match DNA profiles. Even if one can replicate it on a larger scale, we don’t know if they will be able to club two or three liquids together. But it certainly does suggest a way into the future. With scientists already having the capability to reproduce human cells, the technique can indeed be used to repair damaged cells, or better even recreate some organs using 3D printing.