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Pittsburgh-based team engineers muscle, bone cell differentiation with aid of ink-jet printer

PITTSBURGH -- A Pittsburgh-based research team has created and used an innovative ink-jet system to print "bio-ink" patterns that direct muscle-derived stem cells from adult mice to differentiate into both muscle cells and bone cells. The results, which could revolutionize the design of replacement body tissues, will be presented Sunday, Dec. 10 at the 46th annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Diego by Julie (Jadlowiec) Phillippi, a Carnegie Mellon University post-doctoral research fellow supported by the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative.

This report is the first describing a system that can pattern the formation of multiple cell types within the same vessel from a single population of adult stem cells. The new preclinical advance in the field of regenerative medicine could one day benefit millions of people whose tissues are damaged from a variety of conditions, including fatal genetic diseases like Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), wear and tear associated with aging joints, accidental trauma, and joint deterioration due to autoimmune disorders.

The custom-built ink-jet printer, developed at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute, can deposit and immobilize growth factors in virtually any design, pattern or concentration, laying down patterns on native extracellular matrix-coated slides (such as fibrin). These slides are then placed in culture dishes and topped with muscle-derived stem cells (MDSCs). Based on pattern, dose or factor printed by the ink-jet, the MDSCs can be directed to differentiate down various cell-fate differentiation pathways (e.g. bone- or muscle-like).

"Previously, researchers have been limited to directing stem cells to differentiate toward multiple lineages in separate culture vessels. This is not how the body works: the body is one vessel in which multiple tissues are patterned and formed. The ink-jet printing technology allows us to precisely engineer multiple unique microenvironment
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Contact: Lauren Ward
wardle@andrew.cmu.edu
412-268-7761
Carnegie Mellon University
10-Dec-2006


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