Silk fibers improve bioink for 3D-printed artificial tissues and organs — ScienceDaily

How do you test, in early-stage research, whether a potential pharmaceutical effectively targets a human tumor, organ, or some other part of the body? How do you grow a new hand or some other body part? Researchers are in the early stages of using 3D cell printing technology to make developments like these happen. A standard way — currently unavailable — to fix the cells in place after printing would help researchers avoid having to ‘reinvent the wheel’ in every new investigation.

In a study recently published in Materials Today Bio, researchers from Osaka University have used silk nanofibers obtained by mechanical disintegration to enhance the printing process without damaging the cells or cell assemblies. An attractive point of silk for this application is that silk is believed to be a safe material for humans. This development will help bring 3D cell printing research out of the laboratory and

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Key control mechanism allows cells to form tissues and anatomical structures in the developing embryo

Sticking together
Determination of neural progenitor cell-cell de-adhesion forces using micropipette aspiration. Credit: IST Austria

Under a microscope, the first few hours of every multicellular organism’s life seem incongruously chaotic. After fertilization, a once tranquil single-celled egg divides again and again, quickly becoming a visually tumultuous mosh pit of cells jockeying for position inside the rapidly growing embryo.


Yet, amid this apparent pandemonium, cells begin to self-organize. Soon, spatial patterns emerge, serving as the foundation for the construction of tissues, organs and elaborate anatomical structures from brains to toes and everything in between. For decades, scientists have intensively studied this process, called morphogenesis, but it remains in many ways enigmatic.

Now, researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria have discovered a key control mechanism that cells use to self-organize in early embryonic development. The findings, published in Science on Oct. 2, shed light on a

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