SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say producing cardiac tissue with off-the-shelf inkjet technology can be improved significantly with precise cell placement.
Tom Boland, associate professor in Clemson University's bioengineering department, and Catalin Baicu, of the Medical University of South Carolina, presented their findings Sunday in San Francisco during a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The study focused on the precise placement of cells, which is essential to achieving function in soft tissue, such as the heart. In the study, live, beating heart cells were positioned more efficiently by filling an empty inkjet cartridge with a hydrogel solution (a material that has properties similar to tissue) and another inkjet cartridge with cells, Borland said. The printing is accomplished much in the way that color photographs are made, activating alternatively the hydrogel and cell nozzles.
Previously cells were added to prefabricated scaffolds in a lengthy, less efficient process.
In addition to Boland and Baicu, scientists Xiaofeng Cui of Clemson, along with Michael Aho and Michael Zile, both of Medical University of South Carolina, contributed to the research that was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.