Why “Bring Home the Bacon,” When You Can Print It?
Uh… yeah. This is weird. I know ink jet printers can do a lot of things… but come on! (Maybe it is a new diet craze?!?)
“Tissue engineers like Vladimir Mironov of the Medical University of South Carolina, and Thomas Boland of Clemson University, have been printing biomaterials with modified ink-jet printers.
The cartridges are washed out and refilled with suspensions of living cells; the software that controls the characteristics of the ink is reprogrammed and you’re good to go. Boland and Mironov use layers of “thermo-reversable” gel to build up three-dimensional structures like tubesâ€”capillaries, to use the medical term. When the tiny droplets, or clumps, of cells came together closely, they fused; the gel can be easily removed, leaving a tube of tissue.
Just as printers contain inks of different colors, so tissue printers could contain different cell types to create complex structures.
Now, it seems to me that a tube or complex living organ is a pretty complicated structure. Why not practice with a simpler, more two-dimensional form of muscle tissueâ€”like bacon, for instance? Nothing like fresh bacon.”