[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 January, 2005, 14:16 GMT
Skin and bones 'made to measure'
The 'Inkjet' cell printer
The technology prints out several layers of human cells
Scientists are developing an inkjet printer that can create "made to measure" skin and bones to treat people with severe burns or disfigurements.

The University of Manchester team say the inkjets will be able to "print out" tailor-made human cells to fit a patient's exact dimensions.

Human cells are suspended in a nutrient-rich liquid before being printed out in several thin layers.

Project leaders say the method could be used to build an organ in a day.

We can place cells in any designed position in order to grow tissue or bone
Prof Brian Derby
Prof Brian Derby, head of the Ink-jet Printing of Human Cells Project research team, said the technology has tremendous potential.

He said: "It is difficult for a surgeon to reconstruct any complex disfiguring of the face using CT scans, but with this technology we are able to build a fragment which will fit exactly.

"We can place cells in any designed position in order to grow tissue or bone.

"Using conventional methods, you are only able to grow tissues which are a few millimetres thick, which is fine for growing artificial skin, but if you wanted to grow cartilage, for instance, it would be impossible."

The printers create three-dimensional structures, known as tissue scaffolds.

They are made up of several thin layers of human cells, each 10 microns thick - 1,000 cell layers would measure 1cm thick.

Breakthrough on psoriasis cause
17 Nov 04 |  Health

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific