Jump to content
layman77

Would 3D printers be able to print cells

Recommended Posts

I can understand them being able to actually arrange the pre-grown cells onto a scaffold for growing organ, but will the printers ever actually be able to print the cells themselves? What would be the difficulties trying to do this, seems like it would be like trying to print a water balloon for the most part, hard to do, hard to keep it together as you are doing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One could in prospect print the cell frozen, and thaw it.

 

But there is a more serious problem: cells are structured in details too fine to resolve by light or similar low energy radiation. There is a reason for the electron microscope.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can understand them being able to actually arrange the pre-grown cells onto a scaffold for growing organ, but will the printers ever actually be able to print the cells themselves? What would be the difficulties trying to do this, seems like it would be like trying to print a water balloon for the most part, hard to do, hard to keep it together as you are doing it.

What holds human cells together?

 

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080109122114AAHUJzT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What EdEarl said. In addition, 3D printing usually involves the deposition of only one substrate and electron beam lithography is more like etching something out of a substrate. However, a cell has thousands and thousands of different components that cannot be broken down to a common monomer. Thus even if we knew precisely what we need to create a viable cell (which we don't) we would also have an idea how to deposit thousands of different proteins, sugars, lipids etc. at a given position in space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps theoretically a sufieciently advanced electron tunneling microscope could deconstruct a cell atom by atom recording all there locations to make replicas. But it took 4 researchers 2 weeks of 18 hour days to create the "boy and his atom" video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSCX78-8-q0

 

So it it would take much longer to assemble the Trillions of atoms in a cell. An automated 3d atomic printer that could precisely place atoms of various kinds in paralel and rapidly enough to produce a single cell in a human lifetime would be a amazing and revolutionary technology.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.