Massive breakthrough: Scientists attacking disease with sound waves — an ‘acoustic tweezer’

Massive breakthrough: Scientists attacking disease with sound waves — an ‘acoustic tweezer’

A stunning new technique allows scientists to create human tissue with 3D printing of cells.

A group of engineers has just stumbled upon a fascinating discovery with major implications for engineering human tissue and 3D printing cell structures

They have created what they call “acoustic tweezers,” which would enable them to manipulate cells in three dimensions using nothing but sound waves, according to a statement from MIT.

This revolutionary new method would allow for the designing of tissue implants to treat human disease, but it is such a precise and delicate process to recreate natural tissue architecture that developing one method to do that has proven elusive — until now.

Suba Suresh, president of the Carnegie Mellon and former MIT dean of engineering, said that this development by Carnegie, MIT, and Penn State University researchers “provide a unique pathway to manipulate biological cells accurately and in three dimensions, without the need for any invasive contact, tagging, or biochemical labeling,” he said according to the statement. “This approach could lead to new possibilities for research and applications in such areas as regenerative medicine, neuroscience, tissue engineering, biomanufacturing, and cancer metastasis.”

These “acoustic tweezers” use a microfluidic device that had been previously used to manipulate cells in a two-dimensional space by producing acoustic standing waves at a constant height. A pressure node is then created when the two waves meet to trap individual cells. Scientists are able to change the wave length to actually move the location of the node and the cell inside, an approach that has also been used to isolate cancer cells.



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