3D printed organs: We’re closer to solving the problem of how to supply them with blood

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Injected hydrogel into a 3D printed mold produced this artificial kidney. Image: University of Rochester Medical Center

We’re tantalizingly close to growing organs in the lab, but the biggest remaining challenge has been creating the fine networks of blood vessels required to keep them alive. Now researchers have shown that a common food dye could solve the problem.

But a common challenge … is what is known as vascularization. Building bulk tissue isn’t too challenging, but scientists have struggled to create the intricate networks of tiny blood vessels that carry nutrients and oxygen deep into organs and carry waste products out. That’s why most demonstrations thus far have been of organelles just an inch or two across or hollow structures like throats or bladders.

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[A] team of American researchers led by scientists at Rice University in Texas have created a 3D bioprinter that can print vessels.

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The group used a common 3D printing technique called projection stereolithography, which uses light to solidify light-sensitive resins layer by layer. In this case, they used a solution that converts into a soft hydrogel when exposed to blue light.

They used the approach to create an intricate model of the lung with tiny air-sacs surrounded by fine blood vessels. In experiments they showed the artificial organ could oxygenate human blood.

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Read full, original post: New Progress in the Biggest Challenge With 3D Printed Organs

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