Written by Alec Via 3ders.org
As regular readers will have noticed, 3D printing is already becoming a huge hit in hospitals throughout the world for its ability to produce accurate surgery replicas that help doctors prepare properly. However, the real revolution must surely be in the bioprinting of transplantable tissues, a field in which a team of San Francisco scientists have just shared a breakthrough technique to 3D print tiny models of human tissue for use in drug screening, cancer research and eventually even complete transplantable organs.
This new technique is called DNA Programmed Assembly of Cells (DPAC) and is completely explained in the latest edition of the journal Nature Methods. The study itself took place at the University of California San Francisco – a leading institute in the field of biomedical research – and was led by Zev Gartner, associate professor of pharmaceutical chemistry. It also involved postdoctoral fellow Alex Hughes, PhD, staff researcher Maxwell Coyle, and a number of PhD students.
As they explained, their technique essentially revolves around the creation of the biological equivalent of LEGO bricks – tiny models of human tissues that form the building blocks of the human body. Each is 3D printed into a dish and can be used for a wide range of studies; think about the study of tissue affected by cancer, or for therapeutic drug screening in patients. Eventually, it could even lead to the breakthrough in 3D printed human organs.