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Ink-jet printers inspire scientists to make skin

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WASHINGTON – Ink-jet printing technology has inspired scientists to look for ways to build sheets of skin that could one day be used for grafts in burn victims, experts said.

One technique involves a portable bioprinter that could be carried to wounded soldiers on the battlefield where it would scan the injury, take cells from the patient and print a section of compatible skin.

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Another uses a three-dimensional printer combining donor cells, biofriendly gel and other materials to build cartilage.

The 3-D printer was shown at work, building a prototype of an ear during a half-hour demonstration at a Washington science conference.

Hod Lipson of Cornell University in New York said it worked much like an ink-jet printer.

“It spits out plastic to gradually build an object layer by layer… after a couple of hours you end up with a real physical object that you can hold in your hand,” he said.

“Just imagine — if you could take cells from a donor, culture them, put them into an ink and recreate an implant that is alive and made of the original cells from the donor — how useful that would be in terms of avoiding rejection,” said Lipson.

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“That is where we are going. Let’s see how far we can go.”

Studies using the technology in animals have shown promise, particularly with printed cartilage, which is relatively simple in its construction and is tough so it can withstand the rigors of printing.

“There are very severe limitations,” Lipson said. “We are right now limited to cells… that can handle being printed.”

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Scientist James Yoo of Wake Forest University in North Carolina said his team’s approach to printing skin has shown positive results in repairing skin in mouse and pig models.

“One approach is to directly deploy cells to the wound site and the other approach is to build a tissue construct outside the body and transfer it into the body,” said Yoo.

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The technology works in part via a scanner that takes a measure of the affected area and identifies the depth and extent of the injury, informing the bioprinter of how many layers of cells need to be made.

Both scientists said the advances were still in their early stages and required more research and refinement before they are ready for human patients.

“One of the challenges that we will eventually face is like anything else, when you are trying to transfer the technology into the body, how can we create and connect those tissues?” said Yoo.

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“Whatever you put in the body has to be connected with the body’s blood vessels, blood supply and oxygen.”


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Breaking Banner

Anti-intellectualism is back — because it never went away. And it’s killing Americans

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The late Gore Vidal once confessed, with characteristic rapier wit, "I love stupidity. It excites me." But the excitement and hilarity of human foibles and failures diminish rapidly when the consequences include more than 100,000 corpses.

This article first appeared on Salon.

Stupidity is a steadfast provider of humor and tragedy in Freedom Central, otherwise known as the United States. Recent highlights of American imbecility stretch from the creation of reality television to the election of a man that genre made famous, who boasted of his own intelligence with the claim, "I know words. I have the best words."

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COVID-19

Pharma chiefs see coronavirus vaccine by year-end, but challenges ‘daunting’

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Pharmaceutical company executives said Thursday that one or several COVID-19 vaccines could begin rolling out before 2021, but warned the challenges would be "daunting" as it was estimated that 15 billion doses would be needed to halt the pandemic.

Well over 100 labs around the world are scrambling to come up with a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, including 10 that have made it to the clinical trial stage.

"The hope of many people is that we will have a vaccine, hopefully several, by the end of this year," Pascal Soriot, head of AstraZeneca, told a virtual briefing.

His company is partnering with the University of Oxford to develop and distribute a vaccine being trialled in Britain.

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COVID-19

How coronavirus contact tracing works in a state Dr. Fauci praised as a model to follow

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After weeks of keeping people home to “flatten the curve,” restrictions on U.S. businesses are loosening and the coronavirus pandemic response is moving into a new phase.

Two things will be critical to keep COVID-19 cases from flaring up again: widespread testing to quickly identify anyone who gets the virus, and contact tracing to find everyone those individuals might have passed it to.

It’s a daunting task, but states are working hard to take the necessary steps to reopen safely. When Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, explained that task to the U.S. Senate recently, he pointed to South Carolina as a model for the country, one that he would “almost like to clone.”

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