These coloured tiles may look like designs for fabrics or furnishings but, rather than being made of cloth, they’re crafted from living cells. Scientists have created miniature moulds that can organise and support several different types of cells at the same time – in these examples one type of cell is stained green, while the other is red. As well as looking beautiful, the technology has a vital purpose that could save thousands of lives in the future. Donor organs for transplantation are in short supply around the world, and there are problems with rejection if the match isn’t perfect. But organs are a complex arrangement of many different types of cells, and are currently tricky to grow in the lab. Making ‘moulded’ organs using this technique could solve the problem, and the researchers have already shown that they can create functioning liver tissue that can be transplanted into mice.
Written by Kat Arney
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.