Sci/Tech Germans Manufacture Artificial Blood Vessels With a 3-D Printer


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From intestines to tracheas, tissue engineers are building a handful of new body parts — but progress on larger organs has been slow. This is mainly because tissues need nutrients to stay alive, and they need blood vessels to deliver those nutrients. It’s difficult to build those vascular networks, but now a team from Germany may have a solution: Print some capillaries with a 3-D printer.

Engineers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB developed special printer inks containing synthetic polymers, as well as biomolecules that will prevent the artificial tissue from being rejected. Chemical reactions turn the printed material into an elastic solid, allowing the researchers to build highly precise three-dimensional structures.

Though 3-D printing can be quite detailed, the researchers needed an extra layer of precision to build the fine, feathery structures to serve as capillaries. They used two-photon polymerization to do this, according to a Fraunhofer news release. This involves brief, intense blasts of laser light, which stimulate finely tuned molecular crosslinking. Once the tiny vessels are made, they are seeded with endothelial cells, which form the innermost walls.

The next step would be to build entire organs, vascularized with this new printing method. Those may never be transplanted into a human, but they could be used as a test bed for new drugs or therapies, replacing animal subjects in clinical studies. Transplanting synthetic organs is still farther into the future, the Fraunhofer team says.

The team will present their work at the Biotechnica Fair in Hanover, Germany, next month.

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The Case of the Mysterious Camel.
Holy ****
I knew that 3D printers could print bicycles, wrenches and planes..
But not organs ;O


(Evol)ution is nothing without love.
With this kind of stuff happening, it's not long before people will be indifferent to failing organs/heart defects.

The Helper

Necromancy Power over 9000
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I wonder what happened with this? It has been 11 years you would think we would be 3D printing brains by now :)
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