Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Patterns of Life

New technology that can pluck desired cells from a stream of mixed cells and array them

05 December 2019

Patterns of Life

Pretty patterns bring beauty to life. And one day, the perfect pattern might just save your life too. Tissue engineering is the process of growing new material to replace the damaged or diseased original in the body. The first step is to lay out a foundation of cells in just the right pattern to steer the growth. A new tool has been developed to give precision control over both this layout and the cell-gathering process that must come first. It can selectively pluck particular tiny cell types from a stream of material, and layer them onto any flat surface, in any design, such as the red and green stained cells in the example pictured. This process could potentially grab cancer cells circulating in a patient’s blood to test them on platforms with a variety of treatment drugs, or help lay the foundations for new tissue growth in the lab.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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