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Biotech Science

Create Living Cells With an Inkjet Printer 100

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the one-printer-not-to-buy-from-the-discount-store dept.
MattSparkes writes to tell us New Scientist has an article on the use of inkjet printing technology in creating biological tissue. From the article "An inkjet device that prints tiny 'bio-ink' patterns has been used to simultaneously grow two different tissues from the stem cells of adult mice. Surgeons could one day use the technology to repair various damaged tissues at the same time, the researchers say."
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Create Living Cells With an Inkjet Printer

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  • This lends a whole new meaning to the phrase "Getting some ink"
  • by grahamsz (150076) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:41AM (#17204394) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure i could buy a new liver from the Russian mafia for less than the Lexmark ink required to print one.
  • You know they're going to gouge you for refills.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:44AM (#17204414)
    PC Load Letter? What the fuck does that mean?
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:45AM (#17204418) Journal
    that finding printer drivers for Linux was difficult....

    Where the hell do you find a printer driver for this? I'm pretty sure it won't be from the Intelligent Design Printer company LOLOL
  • Again ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Iron Condor (964856) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:48AM (#17204442)
    If you have something to publish, publish in Nature or Science. If you have nothing to publish, publish in New Scientist...
    • by jfengel (409917)
      The last line of the article says that this appeared at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology. I don't know what kind of peer review goes into that, but it's not just science-by-press-release.
    • This technology isn't knew though. I heard of it a long time ago.
       
      Is this [google.com] relevant enough for you? There are also several related articles.
  • by vsage3 (718267) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:54AM (#17204484)
    I saw a highschool-aged kid show one of these off at the Florida State Science Fair several years ago. I had heard about the concept prior as well. While it is an interesting idea, it should not be presented as brand-spanking new.
  • w00t! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:55AM (#17204486)
    I'm gonna make me a new girlfriend using only LaTeX and vim.
    • Re:w00t! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:34AM (#17204662)
      I'm gonna make me a new girlfriend using only LaTeX and vim.


      Why not skip vim and the printer and stick to your current latex-only girlfriend?
    • by truckaxle (883149)
      Maybe instead of "repairing various damaged tissues" you could just uhmmm... enhance various undeveloped tissues you could solve your girlfriend problem.
      • by SeaFox (739806)
        you could just uhmmm... enhance various undeveloped tissues you could solve your girlfriend problem.

        That would require fan-fold paper which is hard to come by it seems now.
    • by Ed Avis (5917)
      \sloppy
  • by vivin (671928) <vivin.paliath@nOspaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:06AM (#17204528) Homepage Journal
    Now imagine if I have a Beowulf cluster of these... I could instruct them to print out THE PERFECT (NAKED) WOMAN! Bwahahaha!

    People say I should go out and meet women but I think this is so much cooler!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This adds whole new dimensions to the work-day-after embarrassment of getting drunk at the office Christmas party and making photocopies of your ass.
  • by alienuforia (1009777) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:16AM (#17204568)
    I'd really like to print out my own heart to give to my girlfriend on Valentine's Day. I think it would be bloody sweet.
  • Ok, who used all the ink printing all these black market KIDNEYS?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Come on! Cut to the chase! There's only one question I need answered:

    Can it print me a copy of Milla Jovovich?
  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:26AM (#17204628)
    United States Patent Application 732980759-32754321

    Protein structure for biochemical enforcement of growth factor ink expiry dates

    ABSTRACT

    A protein structure and associated amino acid sequence providing a set of functions for remotely enforcing expiry dates of growth factor ink.

    Inventors: MillionthMonkey

    Serial No.: 053243653216
    Series Code: 10
    Filed: December 11, 2006

    Claims

    1. An architecture for a system comprising: a greedy ink manufacturer, an end user, an ink expiration date, a hardware device capable of spraying growth factor protein containing inks into desired tissue growth patterns, an application program interface to support same.

    2. An architecture as recited in claim 1, wherein a biochemical timer is implemented with adjustable expiry date settings that may be set at time of manufacture, via expression of a sequence of amino acids (see Attachment A) generating a protein that processes an RNA strand at a fixed rate.

    3. An architecture as recited in claim 2, wherein an RNA template molecule of predetermined length is used at time of manufacture to control a timer as recited in claim 2.

    4. An architecture as recited in claim 3, wherein a biochemical clock is employed to trigger denaturation of growth factor proteins as recited in claim 1.

    5. An architecture as recited in claim 4, wherein the application program interface comprises: a first group of services related to discovery of an impending ink expiry event, a second group of services related to displaying numerous dialog boxes to the end user [as outlined in claim 1] asking for money, and a third group of services related to remotely extracting payment from an end user [as outlined in claim 1].

    6. An application program interface as recited in claim 5, wherein the first group of services comprises: first functions that enable ink manufacturer to specify an expiry date [as recited in claim 3] and implement enforcement of the expiry date by having a biochemical timer [as recited in claim 4] trigger denaturation of growth factors used in gene expression inks.

    CONCLUSION

    Although the invention has been described in language specific to structural features and/or methodological acts, it is to be understood that the invention defined in the appended claims is not necessarily limited to the specific features or acts described. Rather, the specific features and acts are disclosed as exemplary forms of implementing the claimed invention.

    And I'm off to the patent office! Later, suckas!
    • A patent (usually) is not just abstract and claims. Between both parts should come a sufficiently precise description about how to achieve the claims. That's the publication requirement: the patent holder only gets monopoly protection in exchange for describing his invention in such a way that any expert familiar with the state of the art can rebuild the invention using just the patent document alone.

      Absence of the "body" of the patent would imply either of two things:

      • The invention is not sufficiently well
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        A patent (usually) is not just abstract and claims. Between both parts should come a sufficiently precise description about how to achieve the claims.
        Oh yes. I have all this stuff in my "Appendix A".
        • by KDR_11k (778916)
          Does that appendix use your BRM or is it just a plain old organ you stole from some prostitute in Taiwan?
      • All that being said, a sufficiently corrupt patent office court would still uphold it.

        The most important part of your post, sadly. While somewhat open to interpretation, personally, I'd put the US system right into that category. Or at least based on what I've seen large cooperations get away with.
  • Title is wrong... (Score:5, Informative)

    by dtjohnson (102237) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:31AM (#17204642)
    They're not creating cells. They are 'claiming' to have allegedly created tissues by using the inkjet to spray non-differentiated stem cells on to a substrate. Doesn't sound like they're close to selling skin tissue to burn victims yet, though.
    • Absolutely! There is quite a difference between using cells as the "ink", and assembling a cell. We're not even close to being able to do that.

  • 5th element (Score:3, Funny)

    by zx-15 (926808) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:34AM (#17204660)
    Watch out, here comes Leeloo.
  • does the poor critter come out like that badly beamed crew member in the first star trek movie?


  • Tech: When did you noticed the paper jam?

    Customer: Last week.

    Tech: That's too bad. Your printer died over the weekend. You need to call an undertaker since your warrantry doesn't cover disposal of the body.

  • Progress (Score:4, Interesting)

    by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:28AM (#17204888)

    Humanity will inevitably learn new technologies to cheaply and exactly replicate patterns of matter, much as we currently are able to flawlessly and freely share patterns of information. The profound economic effects modern computing has wrought on society are about to be repeated in another echo of the Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions.

    First we somehow learned how to share information, person-to-person, with language. Ten thousand years ago we used that to develop agriculture; we learned how to replicate plants. Then we automated that with the help of domesticated farm animals and handmade tools. We systematized all of this, and then figured out how to globally replicate and distribute the instructions for making the tools themselves. Another cycle gets us where we are today, where we can use all of the available knowledge and tools to design the *next* generation of whatever it is we're trying to do with ourselves.

    So where are we going with all this, besides "burning" a batch of Viagra, Ciprofloxacin, LSD, or flu vaccine on your desktop? Maybe we need to keep an open source perspective, so you can at least cook up some aspirin as *FREELY* as you can play an .ogg. You might have to listen to Beethoven while you wait, because Britney, Beck, and Björk are still locked down (although your grandfather might have left you an illicit DVD with the Beatles discography as ancient MP3s).

    • Re:Progress (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TapeCutter (624760) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @04:26AM (#17205176) Journal
      "Humanity will inevitably learn new technologies to cheaply and exactly replicate patterns of matter, much as we currently are able to flawlessly and freely share patterns of information." [My emphasis]

      As someone who has spent the last two decades developing and supporting large software systems may I just say, we are doomed.

      BTW: I do share your sentiments about the importance of the current digital era: "For millions of years mankind lived just like the animals, then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk." - Steven Hawking's introduction to Pink Floyd's "Keep Talking".
    • The more paranoid amongst us would speculate that this sort of capability is one of the reasons that companies are scrabbling around so much trying to perfect Treacherous Computing and DRM.

      You can bet your butt that as soon as the first device capable of manufacturing all of the parts involved in its own construction from simple raw materials is produced, a "matterware hacker" is going to feel the urge to make an open-source variant. From there on it's an inevitable progression to the complete breakdown of
  • by David Gould (4938) <david@dgould.org> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @03:38AM (#17204940) Homepage

    All this talk of organs and body parts... Screw that, I'm hungry -- can they use it to grow muscle tissue? Mmm, printed meat.

    Once the technology gets established enough to be cheap, it sounds like it might actually become more energy-efficient than raising livestock. And it should be ethically acceptable for vegetarians -- wouldn't some of them at least, who aren't too spooked by the "sciencey-ness" of the whole thing, agree that since the meat didn't come from an animal, it's okay to eat?

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      And it should be ethically acceptable for vegetarians -- wouldn't some of them at least, who aren't too spooked by the "sciencey-ness" of the whole thing, agree that since the meat didn't come from an animal, it's okay to eat?

      Not as many as you might think.

      It's not as if we're all sitting around looking for a loop-hole so we can go out and eat some "pre-embargo" meat or anything like that. Doing an end run around the ethics thing is gonna run you smack-dab into the gross factor for many of us.

      If someone ha

  • Looks like we don't have to wait for the year 1314 to print human tissue! Woot!
  • Living cells? (Score:5, Informative)

    by brit74 (831798) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @04:04AM (#17205076)
    The system isn't actually creating living cells. It's laying existing cells down into a pattern to form tissues. The title, "Create Living Cells With an Inkjet Printer" seems to imply that it's putting together molecules to form cells. (Is it "printing" the nucleotide sequences of DNA and RNA, "printing" mitochondria, "printing" amino acid sequences so that they form working 3-dimensional proteins, placing sugars and hormones inside those cells? Is it laying down a thin cell-wall with species-specific proteins embedded in that wall?) The answer is no, it's not doing any of that. We aren't capable of doing that, and even if we were, it would require a massive database of information that's much larger than the data stored in the human genome.
    • by GeHa (144811)
      Nope. You're right in saying that the title is wrong - no building cells from scratch here - but the article describes printing growth factor (differentiation factor proteins, in fact) on monolayers of stem cells. The idea here is to force the cells to differentiate into different cell types within the same culture dish, which would be required for building complex tissues from stem cells.
  • Seems an awful lot like This Story [slashdot.org] from a long time ago.

    They're different, but hardly anything that's a new sensational breakthrough.

  • Now you can print your own pr0n. Or pony.

    With stories like these, why bother to RTFA?
  • I was expecting a howto article...
  • That sounds familiar [slashdot.org]...
  • Yet another erroneous Slashdot headline. These living cells are not "created," they are grown from existing stem cells. It's not like you put a nonliving substrate "in" the printer and get a spleen "out." The printer simply guides the cells' differentiation patterns.
  • Cost of a standard no frills lexmark printer: $19.99 Cost of a new inject cartridge: $29.99 1. Give away free razors 2. Charge, FAR OUT THE ASS for the razors. 3. ??? 4. Profit
  • by jimstapleton (999106) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @08:30AM (#17206338) Journal
    it doesn't actually create living cells as implied. It looks more like it makes a growth template for stem cells to use, as well as possibly planting them.

    Still useful mind you. But creating functional cells de-novo? No. That would be extremely nice, and probably the most nobel-worthy discovery in biology since Watson & Crick's nice little discovery (even if it didn't require a printer, just doing it would be quite useful)...

    Sadly, not yet.
  • As an individual who has a serious bone defect from an accident, this is very exciting news. Honestly, try wandering around thought life with one femur 2 inches shorter than the other. There are many folks out there who could really benefit from this technology. While it's fun to crack wise or debate the morality of the issue when you don't need the help this process could offer, remember that there are a lot of people who have been praying for something like this for a long time. Check out a children's
  • YAWN.

    Call me when someone is using it for something productive. Otherwise, I'm filing tissue printing in the same bin as fuel cells - especially micro fuel cells - the only time you hear about it is when the research money is running low.

    (yeah, I need another cup of coffee.. but still)
  • What's next? Cut and paste livers? Or how about photoshopped face lifts?
  • So now when one receives anthrax through e-mail, it won't necessarily be an MP3 attachment [mp3.com]; it could be a PostScript attachment instead.
  • Finally, i can travel faster fax'ing myself.

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