The ability to print tissue can help doctors to treat and heal various medical conditions, and successful tissue printing may one day even lead to successful organ printing. The most successful technique so far has been printing cells with the use of a modified inkjet printer and then depositing the printed cells onto a substrate. However, this technique does not always yield live, viable cells. However, a joint team featuring researchers from University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Methodist Research Center and Cornell University have found a technique that will allow the newly printed cells to be deposited safely and yield healthy, live cells.
The technique borrows from the art of Chinese woodblock printing. A silicone mold is created which includes channels that allow individualized cells fall into designated locations. No two cells can occupy the same location, allowing for every cell to have its own space. Once all of the cells have filled the mold, the mold is removed and the cells lie safely in the substrate.