Like other biofluids, sweat contains a wealth of information about what's going on inside the body. However, collecting the fluid for analysis, usually by dripping or absorbing it from the skin's surface, can be time-consuming and messy. Now, researchers have developed a bandage-like biosen ... more
Researchers grow cells in 'paper organs'
Long before scientists test new medicines in animals or people, they study the effects of the substances on cells growing in Petri dishes. However, a 2D layer of cells is a poor substitute for the much more complex 3D structure of tissues in organs. Now, researchers reporting in the ACS journal Nano Letters have used a 3D printer to make paper organs, complete with artificial blood vessels, that they can populate with cells.
In the body, tissues with similar functions are grouped together in organs, such as the brain, heart or stomach. Organs also contain supporting cells, including nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues. An organ's 3D architecture provides biological, structural and mechanical support to cells that influences how they grow and respond to external stimuli, such as medicines. Yu Shrike Zhang and colleagues wanted to see whether they could combine 3D printing and bacterial cellulose to make supports for artificial organs that they could then fill with cells. Cellulose, a polysaccharide made by plants, algae and some bacteria, is a low-cost material used to make paper.
To create a breast tumor model, the researchers 3D printed petroleum jelly-paraffin ink into a bacterial cellulose hydrogel. Then, they air-dried the hydrogel so that it became porous and paper-like. When they heated the ink, it liquefied and was easy to remove, leaving behind hollow microchannels. The team wet the paper "organ" and added endothelial cells -- the cell type that lines blood vessels -- to the microchannels, and added breast cancer cells to the rest of the structure. Dried paper organs can be stored for long periods of time and then rehydrated to produce inexpensive tissue models, which could be useful for drug screening and personalized medicine, the researchers say.
- artificial organs
- tumor models
For decades, forensic scientists have tested strands of hair to reveal drug use or poisoning. But in recent years, reports have questioned the technique -- in particular, its ability to distinguish between the intake of a substance and external contamination of the hair. Now, researchers ha ... more
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that leads to progressive brain cell death and extensive loss of motor function. Despite much research being conducted on this disease, there are no definitive diagnostic tests currently available. Now, researchers report the identificatio ... more
The products we use every day leave behind chemical footprints. Learn how and why researchers are now studying those trails. Mass spectrometry is helping researchers learn more about our interactions with the everyday chemicals we use, such as DEET, caffeine, even medications. In this episo ... more
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