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Kids' stamps inspire new cell-printing technique

Posted on Feb 11 2014 | IANS

New York, Feb 11 : Kids can not only teach their parents but scientists too! A new printing method inspired by kids' stamps may create live cells of almost any shape.

'BlocC' printing can recreate networks of brain cells in a petri dish or complicated immune-system interactions, says path-breaking research.

"The major improvement is that cells printed by 'BlocC' printing are alive - close to 100 percent viability," said Lidong Qin, a nanomedicine researcher at Houston Methodist Research Institute in the US.

The team was inspired from witnessing kids play with rubber stamps.

They created silicone moulds and guided cells into the mould using tiny, hook-like traps.

The cells filter down a column and move past cells that are trapped to fill the next space in the mould.

When the mould is removed, the cells are left behind in the exact configuration of the mould.

The technique is not much different from ancient Chinese woodblock printing.

Unlike the ink-jet printing method, almost all of the cells survived when the researchers used the new technique, said the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This technique can recreate a realistic, complicated system of multiple cells, the study observed.

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