Aligning cells via ultrasound could open the door to more realistic bio-printed tissue for transplants and research.
The cells in natural tissue are arranged in a specific manner that, until now, bio-printed tissue has not been able to replicate. In order to create more realistic tissue, the team from North Carolina State developed a way to use ultrasound arrange the living cells within the structure while it was being printed. The tissue is printed inside a special chamber that generates ultrasound waves. When these waves contact the opposite wall of the chamber, they bounce back into a standing wave that the cells align along. The parameters of the wave can also be adjusted to arrange the cells precisely along each wave.
According to lead researcher Rohan Shirwaiker, “We were able to control the alignment of the cells as they were printed, layer by layer, throughout the tissue. We’ve also shown the ability to align cells in ways that are particularly important for other orthopedic soft tissues, such as ligaments and tendons.”
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