Scientists at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have developed a method called that brings us one step closer to being able to print fully functional living organs.
The new approach known as DNA Programmed Assembly of Cells (DPAC) includes incubating cells with small single stranded snippets of DNA that have been modified to attach to the cells' outer membranes.
The new technique was reported in the journal Nature Methods - allows researchers to create arrays of thousands of custom-designed organoids.
Zev Gartner, PhD, the paper's senior author and an associate professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at UCSF said that there are few limits to the tissues this technology can mimic.
"We can take any cell type we want and program just where it goes. We can precisely control who's talking to whom and who's touching whom at the earliest stages. The cells then follow these initially programmed spatial cues to interact, move around, and develop into tissues over time."
Gartner also said one potential application would be that within the next couple of years, we could be taking samples of different components of a cancer patient's mammary gland and building a model of their tissue to use as a personalized drug screening platform.
"Another is to use the rules of tissue growth we learn with these models to one day grow complete organs," Gartner added.