Those damn meandering kids at the MIT-Harvard Division of Health Sciences and Technology have done it again. After wasting the majority of their years playing beer pong, they’ve finally turned their research to something applicable: LEGO human organs. Dubbed “micromasonry”, researchers have found a way to take cell materials and stack them as to better mimic human tissue, a process that has stumped those water heads for years.
Obtaining the cell material needed to create artificial human organs and blood vessels is simple enough. [you don’t have to be such an arrogant pr-ck, you know -Ed]
The problem lies in taking those free cells and forming them into shapes that mimic natural tissue microarchitecture. Scientists have tried using biodegradable foam to bind cells together, but the resulting tissue generally lacks the complicated architecture of its natural equivalent.
Enter micromasonry. HST researches coat the cells in a version of the liquid polymer polyethylene glycol that becomes a gel when exposed to light. By suspending cells in the liquid and then allowing them to harden, the researchers are able to create cellular cubes that measure 100 to 500 millionths of a meter wide.
Cellular LEGO blocks, if you will. [kotaku]
Oh wait, you mean we’re not actually shoving LEGOs inside of peoples hearts yet? Well that’s just not quite as sexy as it could be. Though still in its early phases of testing, a positive to “micromasonry” is that the process is so easy it can be performed in any lab without the need for any new fancy shmanzy equipment. Right now the team is working on building structures that could be used at blood vessels, but fingers crossed it won’t be too long until they can build me a larger penis. I’m just sayin’.
Special thanks to our lovers over at geekologie for the awesome LEGO anatomy chart.