Medical researchers have taken 3D bioprinting into another level as they have replicated DNA structures that can be used as “inks” in 3D designs to aid in the research of different yet new areas in medical diagnostics and the creation of nanomaterials. What is exciting about this development is that DNA can be programmed by changing the sequence of its amino acids, plus it is a stable structure.
According to MIT associate professor and proponent of the study Mark Bathe, his team created computer-modeled DNA structures using DNA “scaffolds” in 2005. The structures were created first in 2D and then were later created into 3D structures when 3D medical printers became available.
At first, the researchers were able to develop only limited shapes with the program. However, after streamlining the research, they were able to generate 3D DNA structures that are as complex as biological DNA structures. Researchers were able to create rings, spheres, discs as well as other complex shapes like tetrahedron, octahedron and dodecahedrons from the synthetic DNA structures. Because of the ability to cut the synthetic DNA structures, researchers from MIT has seen the potential of these structures for diverse applications. Potential applications of the synthetic DNA include the study of bacterial toxins and drug therapy delivery.
Currently, the algorithm is still unavailable for public use. However, the MIT researchers have noted that they are still currently improving the technology so that it can be used to create more medical and scientific nanostructures for varied applications.