Flexible ‘electronic skin’ patch provides wearable health monitoring anywhere on the body

http://ift.tt/2wzMQCK

New soft electronic stick-on patch collects, analyzes, and diagnoses biosignals and sends data wirelessly to a mobile app. (credit: DGIST)

A radical new electronic skin monitor developed by Korean and U.S. scientists tracks heart rate, respiration, muscle movement, acceleration, and electrical activity in the heart, muscles, eyes, and brain and wirelessly transmits it to a smartphone, allowing for continuous health monitoring.

KurzweilAI has covered a number of biomedical skin-monitoring devices. This new design is noteworthy because the soft, flexible self-adhesive patch (a soft silicone material about four centimeters or 1.5 inches in diameter) can be instantly stuck just about anywhere on the body as needed — no battery required (it’s powered wirelessly).

Optical image of the three-dimensional network of helical coils as electrical interconnects for soft electronics. (credit: DGIST)

The patch is designed more like a mattress or creeping vine than a conventional electronic device. It contains about 50 components connected by a network of 250 tiny flexible wire coils embedded in protective silicone. Unlike flat sensors, the tiny helical wire coils, made of gold, chromium and phosphate, are firmly connected to the base only at one end and can stretch and contract like a spring without breaking.

Helical coils serve as 3D electrical interconnects for soft electronics. (credit: DGIST)

The researchers say the microsystem could also be used in soft robotics, virtual reality, and autonomous navigation.

The microsystem was developed by an international team led by Kyung-In Jang, a professor of robotics engineering at South Korea’s Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, and John A. Rogers, the director of Northwestern University’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics. The research is described in the open-access journal Nature Communications.

“We have several human subject studies ongoing with our medical school at Northwestern — mostly with a focus on health status monitoring in infants,” Rogers told KurzweilAI.


Abstract of Self-assembled three dimensional network designs for soft electronics

Low modulus, compliant systems of sensors, circuits and radios designed to intimately interface with the soft tissues of the human body are of growing interest, due to their emerging applications in continuous, clinical-quality health monitors and advanced, bioelectronic therapeutics. Although recent research establishes various materials and mechanics concepts for such technologies, all existing approaches involve simple, two-dimensional (2D) layouts in the constituent micro-components and interconnects. Here we introduce concepts in three-dimensional (3D) architectures that bypass important engineering constraints and performance limitations set by traditional, 2D designs. Specifically, open-mesh, 3D interconnect networks of helical microcoils formed by deterministic compressive buckling establish the basis for systems that can offer exceptional low modulus, elastic mechanics, in compact geometries, with active components and sophisticated levels of functionality. Coupled mechanical and electrical design approaches enable layout optimization, assembly processes and encapsulation schemes to yield 3D configurations that satisfy requirements in demanding, complex systems, such as wireless, skin-compatible electronic sensors.

from KurzweilAI » News http://ift.tt/2w5uXsc

Flexible ‘electronic skin’ patch provides wearable health monitoring anywhere on the body

http://ift.tt/2wzMQCK

New soft electronic stick-on patch collects, analyzes, and diagnoses biosignals and sends data wirelessly to a mobile app. (credit: DGIST)

A radical new electronic skin monitor developed by Korean and U.S. scientists tracks heart rate, respiration, muscle movement, acceleration, and electrical activity in the heart, muscles, eyes, and brain and wirelessly transmits it to a smartphone, allowing for continuous health monitoring.

KurzweilAI has covered a number of biomedical skin-monitoring devices. This new design is noteworthy because the soft, flexible self-adhesive patch (a soft silicone material about four centimeters or 1.5 inches in diameter) can be instantly stuck just about anywhere on the body as needed — no battery required (it’s powered wirelessly).

Optical image of the three-dimensional network of helical coils as electrical interconnects for soft electronics. (credit: DGIST)

The patch is designed more like a mattress or creeping vine than a conventional electronic device. It contains about 50 components connected by a network of 250 tiny flexible wire coils embedded in protective silicone. Unlike flat sensors, the tiny helical wire coils, made of gold, chromium and phosphate, are firmly connected to the base only at one end and can stretch and contract like a spring without breaking.

Helical coils serve as 3D electrical interconnects for soft electronics. (credit: DGIST)

The researchers say the microsystem could also be used in soft robotics, virtual reality, and autonomous navigation.

The microsystem was developed by an international team led by Kyung-In Jang, a professor of robotics engineering at South Korea’s Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, and John A. Rogers, the director of Northwestern University’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics. The research is described in the open-access journal Nature Communications.

“We have several human subject studies ongoing with our medical school at Northwestern — mostly with a focus on health status monitoring in infants,” Rogers told KurzweilAI.


Abstract of Self-assembled three dimensional network designs for soft electronics

Low modulus, compliant systems of sensors, circuits and radios designed to intimately interface with the soft tissues of the human body are of growing interest, due to their emerging applications in continuous, clinical-quality health monitors and advanced, bioelectronic therapeutics. Although recent research establishes various materials and mechanics concepts for such technologies, all existing approaches involve simple, two-dimensional (2D) layouts in the constituent micro-components and interconnects. Here we introduce concepts in three-dimensional (3D) architectures that bypass important engineering constraints and performance limitations set by traditional, 2D designs. Specifically, open-mesh, 3D interconnect networks of helical microcoils formed by deterministic compressive buckling establish the basis for systems that can offer exceptional low modulus, elastic mechanics, in compact geometries, with active components and sophisticated levels of functionality. Coupled mechanical and electrical design approaches enable layout optimization, assembly processes and encapsulation schemes to yield 3D configurations that satisfy requirements in demanding, complex systems, such as wireless, skin-compatible electronic sensors.

from KurzweilAI http://ift.tt/2w5uXsc

Why Empowering Women Is the Best Way to Solve Climate Change

http://ift.tt/2vZ5P8d

In April of this year, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded its first-ever carbon dioxide reading over 410 parts per million (ppm). This is a brand-new state of affairs, as humans have never existed on Earth with CO2 levels over 300 ppm. If carbon emissions continue their current trend, our atmosphere could get to a point it hasn’t been at in 50 million years—when temperatures were 18°F (10°C) higher and there was almost no ice on the planet (meaning there was a lot more water and a lot less land).

There’s long been a consensus between multiple countries to try to limit the temperature change from global warming to two degrees Celsius. This is critical for many reasons, not least the effect hotter temperatures will have (and have already had) on food production.

But author and activist Paul Hawken says two degrees isn’t enough—not nearly enough, in fact. In a moving presentation at Singularity University’s Global Summit last week in San Francisco, Hawken shared details from his recently-released book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.

Paul Hawken at Singularity University’s Global Summit in San Francisco.

The term “drawdown” refers to the point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begins to decline on a year-to-year basis. To figure out how to reach that point, Project Drawdown brought together researchers in various fields from around the world to identify, measure, and model the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. The book describes each solution’s history, its carbon impact, its relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works.

“We found that the mantra for global warming is all about energy, energy, energy,” Hawken said. “Those are critical solutions, don’t get me wrong, but somehow we have this idea that if we get energy right then we get a hall pass to the 22nd century—and nothing could be further from the truth.”

Below are the top solutions from Drawdown’s model. It’s likely at least one will surprise you.

1. Refrigerant Management

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) largely replaced ozone-damaging chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in refrigeration systems after the 1987 Montreal Protocol. While HFCs are better for the ozone, though, they’re a lot worse for the atmosphere, with 1,000 to 9,000 times the capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

Countries are now aiming to phase out HFCs, too, starting with high-income countries in 2019. Natural refrigerant substitutes like propane and ammonium are already on the market.

Drawdown found that over thirty years, containing 87 percent of refrigerants likely to be released could avoid emissions equal to 89.7 gigatons of CO2—with a projected net price tag of $903 billion by 2050

2. Onshore Wind Turbines

Wind turbines currently supply around 4 percent of global energy, and could account for up to 30 percent by 2040. In some areas, wind energy is already cheaper than energy from coal, and costs will continue to drop as the technology improves.

Drawdown research found that increasing onshore wind to 21.6 percent of global energy supply by 2050 could reduce emissions by 84.6 gigatons of CO2. The estimated cost is a hefty $1.23 trillion, but it would pay for itself several times over, as wind turbines could produce net savings of $7.4 trillion over three decades of operation.

Since wind’s not always blowing in most parts of the world, growing wind infrastructure needs to be accompanied by investment in storage and transmission infrastructure too.

3. Reduced Food Waste

One third of all the food that’s grown or prepared gets thrown away. In a world where hunger is still a very real problem for millions of people, this is nothing short of absurd. And not only does the food itself get wasted, so do all the components that went into producing it, like water, energy, and human labor. Food production also generates greenhouse gases, and organic trash produces methane. Add up all these components, and food waste accounts for about eight percent of global emissions.

In poorer countries food waste tends to happen earlier in the supply chain, as when produce rots on farms or spoils during storage or distribution. This can be remedied by improving infrastructure for storage, processing, and transportation.

In wealthier nations, retailers and consumers reject food based on cosmetic imperfections, or throw it out when its expiration date passes. National policies against food waste like those enacted in France last year are needed to encourage change, as is a loosening of cosmetic standards for produce by both end consumers and retail chains.

After taking into account the adoption of plant-rich diets, Drawdown found that if 50 percent of food waste is reduced by 2050, avoided emissions could be equal to 26.2 gigatons of CO2. Reducing waste also avoids the deforestation for additional farmland, preventing 44.4 gigatons of additional emissions.

4. Eating a Plant-Rich Diet

If cattle were their own nation, they would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. As of 2014, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization found that 14.5 percent of all emissions stemming from human activity come from livestock.

That’s just one good reason to eat more plants. A plant-based diet is also healthier and in many cases more affordable than meat (especially if you consider the impact of government subsidies, such as those benefiting the US livestock industry).

Altering our diet is easier said than done, as people’s food choices are highly personal as well as cultural—but making plant-based options widely available and educating populations about plants’ health benefits are a good starting point.

Drawdown found that if 50 percent of the world’s population restricted their diet to a healthy 2,500 calories per day and reduced meat consumption overall, at least 26.7 gigatons of emissions could be avoided, plus another 39.3 gigatons from avoided deforestation from land use change.

5. Saving Tropical Forests

Tropical forests once covered 12 percent of the world’s land, but now cover just five percent. Much of the clearing has been to make way for agriculture (either crops or livestock). These forests continue to be cleared in some parts of the world, but in others, they’re being restored.

“As a forest ecosystem recovers, trees, soil, leaf litter, and other vegetation absorb and hold carbon,” Drawdown’s tropical forests page says. As flora and fauna return and interactions between organisms and species revive, the forest regains its multidimensional roles: supporting the water cycle, conserving soil, protecting habitat and pollinators, providing food, medicine, and fiber, and giving people places to live, adventure, and worship.”

Forests can be restored by releasing land from non-forest use and letting nature do its thing. People can also cultivate and plant native seedlings and remove invasive species to accelerate the process.

Drawdown’s model assumes restoration could occur on 435 million acres of degraded tropical land. Through natural regrowth, committed land could sequester 1.4 tons of CO2 per acre annually, for a total of 61.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050.

6. Educating Girls

Women with more education have fewer children, and the children they do have are healthier. Maternal and infant mortality rates are lower for educated women. Girls who stay in school longer are less likely to marry as children or against their will, they have lower rates of HIV/AIDS and malaria, and their agricultural plots are more productive and their families better nourished.

Drawdown found that economic, cultural, and safety-related barriers prevent 62 million girls around the world from realizing their right to education, and lists these strategies as being key to change:

  • Make school affordable
  • Help girls overcome health barriers
  • Reduce the time and distance to get to school
  • Make schools more girl-friendly

The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization estimates universal education in low- and lower-middle-income countries could be achieved by closing an annual financing gap of $39 billion. This could result in an emissions reduction of 59.6 gigatons by 2050.

7. Family Planning

Drawdown’s family planning page states “225 million women in lower-income countries say they want the ability to choose whether and when to become pregnant but lack the necessary access to contraception. The need persists in some high-income countries as well, including the United States, where 45 percent of pregnancies are unintended.”

The UN’s medium variant global population projection of 9.7 billion people by 2050 assumes a decline in fertility levels in countries where large families are still common. To achieve this figure (as opposed to the high variant), improving women’s access to reproductive health services and family planning is essential, above all in less-developed countries.

Drawdown modeled the impact of family planning based on the difference in how much energy, building space, food, waste, and transportation would be used in a world with little to no investment in family planning compared to one in which the 9.7 billion projection is realized. The resulting emissions reductions could be 119.2 gigatons of CO2. Half this total was allocated to educating girls.

Power to the Girl

Family planning and educating girls are closely linked in that the former is highly affected by the latter—and they’re both key to managing global population growth. Drawdown realized the exact dynamic between these two solutions is impossible to determine, and thus allocated 50 percent of the total potential impact—59.6 gigatons—to each. Their models assume these impacts result from thirteen years of schooling, including primary through secondary education.

The total atmospheric CO2 reduction of 119.2 gigatons that could result from empowering and educating women and girls makes this the number one solution to reversing global warming.

“A girl who is allowed to be in school and come to be a woman on her terms…makes very different reproductive choices,” Hawken said. “And when we modeled this we modeled family planning clinics everywhere. Not just in Africa, but in Arkansas. Women everywhere should be supported in their reproductive health and well-being for their families.”

Hawken concluded his talk with a perspective on climate change I had never heard before, and most of the audience likely hadn’t either.

“Global warming isn’t happening to us. It’s happening for us. It’s a gift. Every system without feedback dies. This is feedback. It’s an offering to re-imagine who we are and what we can create with our minds, our hearts, and our brilliance.”

His presentation received a standing ovation.

Image Credit: Stock Media provided by nito / Pond5

from Singularity Hub http://ift.tt/2xcEcH5

Artificial Intelligence | Future of Everything With Jason Silva (Part 6)

In the latest installment of Singularity University’s web series, Future of Everything With Jason Silva, Silva takes a look at artificial intelligence. “AI is perhaps the granddaddy of all exponential technologies. Surely to transform the world and the human race in ways that we can barely wrap our heads around,” Silva says. Forms of creativity will be unleashed that we can not even imagine, and we’re going to transcend what it means to be human.

Image Credit: Stock Media provided by agsandrew / Pond5

from Singularity Hub http://ift.tt/2vYyVVm

This Chip Uses Electricity to Reprogram Cells for Healing

It sounds like science fiction: with a light zap of electricity, a tiny stamp-like device transforms your skin cells into reservoirs of blood vessels or brain cells, ready to heal you from within.

Recently, a team of medical mavericks at the Ohio State University introduced a device that does just that. The technology, dubbed tissue nanotransfection (TNT), is set to blow up the field of organ regeneration.

When zapped with a light electrical jolt, the device shoots extra bits of DNA code from its nanotube arrays directly into tiny pores in the skin. There, the DNA triggers the cells to shed their identity and reprograms them into other cell types that can be harvested to repair damaged organs.

Remarkably, the effect spreads with time. The rebooted cells release tiny membrane bubbles onto their neighboring skin cells, coaxing them to undergo transformation. Like zombies, but for good.

So far, the device has already been used to generate neurons to protect the brains of mice with experimental stroke. The team also successfully healed the legs of injured mice by turning the skin cells on their hind limbs into a forest of blood vessels.

While still a ways from human use, scientists believe future iterations of the technology could perform a myriad of medical wonders: repairing damaged organs, relieving brain degeneration, or even restoring aged tissue back to a youthful state.

“By using our novel nanochip technology, injured or compromised organs can be replaced. We have shown that skin is a fertile land where we can grow the elements of any organ that is declining,” says lead author Dr. Chandan Sen, who published the result in Nature Nanotechnology.

“In my lab, we have ongoing research trying to understand the mechanism and do even better,” adds Dr. L. James Lee, who co-led the study with Sen. “So, this is the beginning, more to come.”

The Promise of Cell Therapy

The Ohio team’s research builds on an age-old idea in regenerative medicine: that even aged bodies have the ability to produce and integrate healthy, youthful cells—given the right set of cues.

While some controversy remains on whether replacement cells survive in an injured body, scientists—and some rather dubious clinics—are readily exploring the potential of cell-based therapies.

All cells harbor the same set of DNA; whether they turn into heart cells, neurons, or back into stem cells depend on which genes are activated. The gatekeeper of gene expression is a set of specialized proteins. Scientists can stick the DNA code for these proteins into cells, where they hijack its DNA machinery with orders to produce the protein switches—and the cell transforms into another cell type.

The actual process works like this: scientists harvest mature cells from patients, reprogram them into stem cells inside a Petri dish, inject those cells back into the patients and wait for them to develop into the needed cell types.

It’s a cumbersome process packed with landmines. Researchers often use viruses to deliver the genetic payload into cells. In some animal studies, this has led to unwanted mutations and cancer. It’s also unclear whether the reprogrammed stem cells survive inside the patients. Whether they actually turn into healthy tissue is even more up for debate.

Heal Thyself

The Ohio team’s device tackles many of these problems head on.

Eschewing the need for viruses, the team manufactured a stamp-sized device out of silicon that serves as a reservoir and injector for DNA. Microetched onto each device are arrays of nanochannels that connect to microscopic dents. Scientists can load DNA material into these tiny holding spots, where they sit stably until a ten-millisecond zap shoots them into the recipient’s tissue.

“We based TNT on a bulk transfection, which is often used in the lab to deliver genes into cells,” the authors explain. Like its bulk counterpart, the electrical zap opens up tiny, transient pores on the cell membrane, which allows the DNA instructions to get it.

The problem with bulk transfection is that not all genes get into each cell. Some cells may get more than they bargained for and take up more than one copy, which increases the chance of random mutations.

“We found that TNT is extremely focused, with each cell receiving ample DNA,” the authors say.

The device also skips an intermediary step in cell conversion: rather than turning cells back into stem cells, the team pushed mouse skin cells directly into other mature cell types using different sets of previously-discovered protein factors.

In one early experiment, the team successfully generated neurons from skin cells that seem indistinguishable from their natural counterparts: they shot off electrical pulses and had similar gene expression profiles.

Surprisingly, the team found that even non-zapped cells in the skin’s deeper layers transformed. Further testing found that the newly reprogrammed neurons released tiny fatty bubbles that contained the molecular instructions for transformation.

When the team harvested these bubbles and injected them into mice subjected to experimental stroke, the bubbles triggered the brain to generate new neurons and repair itself.

“We don’t know if the bubbles are somehow transforming other brain cell types into neurons, but they do seem to be loaded with molecules that protect the brain,” the researchers say.

In an ultimate test of the device’s healing potential, the researchers placed it onto the injured hind leg of a handful of mice. Three days prior, their leg arteries had been experimentally severed, which—when left untreated—leads to tissue decay.

The team loaded the device with factors that convert skin cells into blood vessel cells. Within a week of conversion, the team watched as new blood vessels sprouted and grew beyond the local treatment area. In the end, TNT-zapped mice had fewer signs of tissue injury and higher leg muscle metabolism compared to non-treated controls.

“This is difficult to imagine, but it is achievable, successfully working about 98 percent of the time,” says Sen.

An Explosive Treatment?

A major draw of the device is that it’s one-touch-and-go.

There are no expensive cell isolation procedures and no finicky lab manipulations. The conversion happens right on the skin, essentially transforming patient’s bodies into their own prolific bioreactors.

“This process only takes less than a second and is non-invasive, and then you’re off. The chip does not stay with you, and the reprogramming of the cell starts,” says Sen.

Because the converted cells come directly from the patient, they’re in an “immune-privileged” position, which reduces the chance of rejection.

This means that in the future, if the technology is used to manufacture organs “immune suppression is not necessary,” says Sen.

While the team plans to test the device in humans as early as next year, Sen acknowledges that they’ll likely run into problems.

For one, because the device needs to be in direct contact with tissue, the skin is the only easily-accessible body part to do these conversions. Repairing deeper tissue would require surgery to insert the device into wounded areas. And to many, growing other organ cell types is a pretty creepy thought, especially because the transformation isn’t completely local—non-targeted cells are also reprogrammed.

That could be because the body is trying to heal itself, the authors hypothesize. Using the chip on healthy legs didn’t sprout new blood vessels, suggesting that the widespread conversion is because of injury, though (for now) there isn’t much evidence supporting the idea.

For another, scientists are still working out the specialized factors required to directly convert between cell types. So far, they’ve only had limited success.

But Sen and his team are optimistic.

“When these things come out for the first time, it’s basically crossing the chasm from impossible to possible,” he says. “We have established feasibility.”

Image Credit: Researchers demonstrate tissue nanotransfection, courtesy of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

from Singularity Hub http://ift.tt/2wB6FJ4

A breakthrough new method for 3D-printing living tissues

http://ift.tt/2wyH7ME

The 3D droplet bioprinter, developed by the Bayley Research Group at Oxford, producing millimeter-sized tissues (credit: Sam Olof/ Alexander Graham)

Scientists at the University of Oxford have developed a radical new method of 3D-printing laboratory-grown cells that can form living complex tissues and cartilage to potentially support, repair, or augment diseased and damaged areas of the body.

Printing high-resolution living tissues is currently difficult because the cells often move within printed structures and can collapse on themselves. So the team devised a new way to produce tissues in protective nanoliter droplets wrapped in a lipid (oil-compatible) coating that is assembled, layer-by-layer, into living cellular structures.

3D-printing cellular constructs. (left) Schematic of cell printing. The dispensing nozzle ejects cell-containing bioink droplets into a lipid-containing oil. The droplets are positioned by the programmed movement of the oil container. The droplets cohere through the formation of droplet interface lipid bilayers. (center) A related micrograph of a patterned cell junction, containing two cell types, printed as successive layers of 130-micrometer droplets ejected from two glass nozzles. (right) A confocal fluorescence micrograph of about 700 printed human embryonic kidney cells under oil at a density of 40 million cells per milliliter (scale bar = 150 micrometers). (credit: Alexander D. Graham et al./Scientific Reports)

This new method improves the survival rate of the individual cells and allows for building each tissue one drop at a time to mimic the behaviors and functions of the human body. The patterned cellular constructs, once fully grown, can mimic or potentially enhance natural tissues.

‘We were aiming to fabricate three-dimensional living tissues that could display the basic behaviors and physiology found in natural organisms,” explained Alexander Graham, PhD, lead author and 3D Bioprinting Scientist at OxSyBio (Oxford Synthetic Biology).

“To date, there are limited examples of printed tissues [that] have the complex cellular architecture of native tissues. Hence, we focused on designing a high-resolution cell printing platform, from relatively inexpensive components, that could be used to reproducibly produce artificial tissues with appropriate complexity from a range of cells, including stem cells.”

A confocal micrograph of an artificial tissue containing two populations of human embryonic kidney cells (HEK-293T) printed in the form of an arborized structure within a cube (credit: Sam Olof/Alexander Graham)

The researchers hope that with further development, the materials could have a wide impact on healthcare worldwide and bypass clinical animal testing. The scientists plan to develop new complementary printing techniques that allow for a wider range of living and hybrid materials, producing tissues at industrial scale.

“We believe it will be possible to create personalized treatments by using cells sourced from patients to mimic or enhance natural tissue function,” said Sam Olof, PhD, Chief Technology Officer at OxSyBio. “In the future, 3D bio-printed tissues maybe also be used for diagnostic applications — for example, for drug or toxin screening.”

The study results were published August 1 in the journal Scientific Reports.


Abstract of High-Resolution Patterned Cellular Constructs by Droplet-Based 3D Printing

Bioprinting is an emerging technique for the fabrication of living tissues that allows cells to be arranged in predetermined three-dimensional (3D) architectures. However, to date, there are limited examples of bioprinted constructs containing multiple cell types patterned at high-resolution. Here we present a low-cost process that employs 3D printing of aqueous droplets containing mammalian cells to produce robust, patterned constructs in oil, which were reproducibly transferred to culture medium. Human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells and ovine mesenchymal stem cells (oMSCs) were printed at tissue-relevant densities (107 cells mL−1) and a high droplet resolution of 1 nL. High-resolution 3D geometries were printed with features of ≤200 μm; these included an arborised cell junction, a diagonal-plane junction and an osteochondral interface. The printed cells showed high viability (90% on average) and HEK cells within the printed structures were shown to proliferate under culture conditions. Significantly, a five-week tissue engineering study demonstrated that printed oMSCs could be differentiated down the chondrogenic lineage to generate cartilage-like structures containing type II collagen.

from KurzweilAI » News http://ift.tt/2v95Nrz

A breakthrough new method for 3D-printing living tissues

http://ift.tt/2wyH7ME

The 3D droplet bioprinter, developed by the Bayley Research Group at Oxford, producing millimeter-sized tissues (credit: Sam Olof/ Alexander Graham)

Scientists at the University of Oxford have developed a radical new method of 3D-printing laboratory-grown cells that can form living complex tissues and cartilage to potentially support, repair, or augment diseased and damaged areas of the body.

Printing high-resolution living tissues is currently difficult because the cells often move within printed structures and can collapse on themselves. So the team devised a new way to produce tissues in protective nanoliter droplets wrapped in a lipid (oil-compatible) coating that is assembled, layer-by-layer, into living cellular structures.

3D-printing cellular constructs. (left) Schematic of cell printing. The dispensing nozzle ejects cell-containing bioink droplets into a lipid-containing oil. The droplets are positioned by the programmed movement of the oil container. The droplets cohere through the formation of droplet interface lipid bilayers. (center) A related micrograph of a patterned cell junction, containing two cell types, printed as successive layers of 130-micrometer droplets ejected from two glass nozzles. (right) A confocal fluorescence micrograph of about 700 printed human embryonic kidney cells under oil at a density of 40 million cells per milliliter (scale bar = 150 micrometers). (credit: Alexander D. Graham et al./Scientific Reports)

This new method improves the survival rate of the individual cells and allows for building each tissue one drop at a time to mimic the behaviors and functions of the human body. The patterned cellular constructs, once fully grown, can mimic or potentially enhance natural tissues.

‘We were aiming to fabricate three-dimensional living tissues that could display the basic behaviors and physiology found in natural organisms,” explained Alexander Graham, PhD, lead author and 3D Bioprinting Scientist at OxSyBio (Oxford Synthetic Biology).

“To date, there are limited examples of printed tissues [that] have the complex cellular architecture of native tissues. Hence, we focused on designing a high-resolution cell printing platform, from relatively inexpensive components, that could be used to reproducibly produce artificial tissues with appropriate complexity from a range of cells, including stem cells.”

A confocal micrograph of an artificial tissue containing two populations of human embryonic kidney cells (HEK-293T) printed in the form of an arborized structure within a cube (credit: Sam Olof/Alexander Graham)

The researchers hope that with further development, the materials could have a wide impact on healthcare worldwide and bypass clinical animal testing. The scientists plan to develop new complementary printing techniques that allow for a wider range of living and hybrid materials, producing tissues at industrial scale.

“We believe it will be possible to create personalized treatments by using cells sourced from patients to mimic or enhance natural tissue function,” said Sam Olof, PhD, Chief Technology Officer at OxSyBio. “In the future, 3D bio-printed tissues maybe also be used for diagnostic applications — for example, for drug or toxin screening.”

The study results were published August 1 in the journal Scientific Reports.


Abstract of High-Resolution Patterned Cellular Constructs by Droplet-Based 3D Printing

Bioprinting is an emerging technique for the fabrication of living tissues that allows cells to be arranged in predetermined three-dimensional (3D) architectures. However, to date, there are limited examples of bioprinted constructs containing multiple cell types patterned at high-resolution. Here we present a low-cost process that employs 3D printing of aqueous droplets containing mammalian cells to produce robust, patterned constructs in oil, which were reproducibly transferred to culture medium. Human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells and ovine mesenchymal stem cells (oMSCs) were printed at tissue-relevant densities (107 cells mL−1) and a high droplet resolution of 1 nL. High-resolution 3D geometries were printed with features of ≤200 μm; these included an arborised cell junction, a diagonal-plane junction and an osteochondral interface. The printed cells showed high viability (90% on average) and HEK cells within the printed structures were shown to proliferate under culture conditions. Significantly, a five-week tissue engineering study demonstrated that printed oMSCs could be differentiated down the chondrogenic lineage to generate cartilage-like structures containing type II collagen.

from KurzweilAI http://ift.tt/2v95Nrz