Printing Muscle at Organovo

From the Methuselah Foundation blog: "A thin layer of human skeletal muscle is being printed by Chirag Khatiwala in a small, sterile room of San Diego-based startup Organovo. Each muscle cell from the company's signature 3-D printer is uniformly deposited in closely spaced lines on a petri dish. This allows the cells to grow and interconnect until they form working muscle tissue nearly indistinguishable from a human muscle biopsy. Unlike other experimental approaches that utilize ink-jet printers to deposit cells, Organovo's technology enables cells to interact with each other the way they do in the body. How? They are packed tightly together, sandwiched, if you will, and incubated. This prompts them to cleave to each other and interchange chemical signals. When printed, the cells are grouped together in a paste that helps them grow, migrate, and align themselves properly. In the case of muscle cells, the way they orient themselves in the same direction allow for contractions of the tissue. ... Methuselah Foundation honors the efforts of Organovo through early funding and support as well as through its new, highly anticipated New Organ Mprize. The true prize is elevated health and quality of life for those that have had to or will suffer the blows of a failing organ. Every $10 helps us work in tandem with today's stunningly advanced technology so that at some tomorrow, no one will have to suffer or die because of a diseased organ."

Link: http://blog.mfoundation.org/2012/02/_fantastical_scenes_from_the.html

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