Printed on a 3D printer, neural stem cells will help “repair” the spinal cord

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<pre>Printed on a 3D printer, neural stem cells will help

Specialists from the University of Minnesota received the first valid samples of “living” prostheses for the nervous system. They managed to solve the most complicated task – how to print a 3D microstructure complex using real living cells on a 3D printer. So that they subsequently expand and unite with neurons, eliminating damage in the spinal cord.

In words everything looks simple: scientists took from the consumable, skin and blood, a number of cells that were subjected to bioengineering. Received induced pluripotent stem cells – mutant cells, ready under suitable conditions to start growing and become full-fledged neurons. Now it remains to print the silicone skeleton, the system of “beds” on which these cells are planted, and the whole construction is put in place of damage in the spinal cord.

In practice, this was the first time that scientists managed not only to save almost 75% of very vulnerable cells alive during the 3D printing, but also to observe how a certain number grew into healthy neurons. The next success was that they made the cells grow in the right directions and managed to keep enough of their volume for a while until they come into contact with the living tissues of the healed area. Scientists are very happy that they managed to create conditions under which it is possible to support stem nerve cells in the active state inside the prosthesis.

Now begins the most difficult, you need to study how such prostheses take root and what connections form with the neurons of the body. Will the restoration of the spinal cord be 50% complete or only fragmentary, “how lucky”? Many people with such traumas would be infinitely grateful for one more opportunity to control the bladder, but scientists cherish the hope of learning to completely “repair” any damage to the spinal cord.

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