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Scientists Aim To 'Print' Human Skin 77

suraj.sun sends this excerpt from CNN: "Scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, inspired by standard inkjet printers found in many home offices, are developing a specialized skin 'printing' system that could be used in the future to treat soldiers wounded on the battlefield. 'We started out by taking a typical desktop inkjet cartridge. Instead of ink we use cells, which are placed in the cartridge,' said Dr. Anthony Atala, director of the institute. The device could be used to rebuild damaged or burned skin. ... Burn injuries account for 5% to 20% of combat-related injuries, according to the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine. The skin printing project is one of several projects at Wake Forest largely funded by that institute, which is a branch of the US Department of Defense. Wake Forest will receive approximately $50 million from the Defense Department over the next five years to fund projects, including the skin-creating system. Researchers developed the skin 'bio-printer' by modifying a standard store-bought printer. One modification is the addition of a three-dimensional 'elevator' that builds on damaged tissue with fresh layers of healthy skin."
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Scientists Aim To 'Print' Human Skin

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  • by TooMuchToDo ( 882796 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @03:52PM (#35255200)

    Viagra was initially researched by Pfizer as a treatment for angina, and just happened to fix erectile dysfunction *really well*. That doesn't make Pfizer sleazy, just like plastic surgeons aren't sleazy for giving a chick bigger tits if she wants them. Don't lie to yourself, you're judged on your physical appearance (or, in this case, "proportions"). Who cares if guys buying bigger dicks fund the R&D for regenerative medicine? Money is money.

  • Re:I'm sick tired (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @04:09PM (#35255302)
    You know, the Red Cross was initially founded to help wounded troops. Now, they do disaster relief, humanitarian missions, etc. They keep thousands from dying all across the world every year. Many medical advances that we take for granted today came about through the treatment of wounded soldiers. Just because this technology is being used for soldiers does not mean it will never be developed for civilian use as well.
  • Re:Nothing new (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @04:25PM (#35255396) Journal
    I strongly suspect that the delivery mechanism is by far the most boring part of either of these systems.

    Spraying fluids and/or particle/fluid aerosols with greater or lesser precision is a basically solved problem. Yours for $50 at Best Buy or your local hobby shop. Yawn.

    Stimulating high-speed tissue regrowth, without it turning into a horrible mass of scar tissue and/or cancer, on the other hand, is the cutting edge bit. Mammalian tissue regeneration is rather more conservative than we would like, leading to permanent loss of tissue and limbs, and ugly scarring; but naive stimulation of cell growth, or introduction of pluripotent cells, has an ugly habit of reminding you why that level of conservatism turned out to be evolutionarily adaptive...

    Once you solve the hard problem of producing a safe and effective cell/drug/nutrient/whatever slurry that does what you want it to do, it likely barely matters if you use an inkjet, an airbrush, a paintbrush, or just finger-paint it on. The "ink" is the interesting bit.
  • by BJ_Covert_Action ( 1499847 ) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @05:45PM (#35255756) Homepage Journal
    I have a couple of friends who have been the victims of some rather nasty burn injuries. They've come out of the experience healthy and dandy well down the road, but each one of them counts the experience as a life-changing event. Any technology that can help severe burn victims should be released to the civilian sector as well.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright