An ink full of germs that can release medicine

living ink

exist microrobots that can get into the body to release substances in a controlled way, such as insulin, for example, but today I will talk about something less technologically sophisticated, but equally interesting.

It is an ink made from bacterial cells that can be used to 3D print structures that release anticancer drugs, although that would be just one application of many it could have.

They present it as the first printable gel made with proteins produced by Escherichia coli cells (bacteria that can be found in the intestines of some mammals), a “living ink” based on the matrix that bacteria normally use as a protective material.

The bacteria have been genetically modified to create living structures that released the anticancer drug azurine, although they also used it to capture bisphenol A (BPA) toxin from the environment (a toxin used to make plastics).

Once they managed to make the gel from the bacteria, they funneled it through a nozzle to produce half-millimeter-wide threads, holding together without breaking. They are thus able to release azurine on demand, or capture almost 30 percent of the toxin mentioned above.

They comment that there are living structures in the laboratory that have been stable for more than two years, so it seems that there are no problems in that regard.

The human being is thus capable of genetically programming the functional response of living printed material, and this has enormous applications.

You can read more details in this New York Times article.

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Lenny Li

I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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