~ 3-D "Bioprinted" Vascular Network Represents Major Breakthrough in 3-D Printing of Transplantable Organs and Tissues

~ 3-D "Bioprinted" Vascular Network Represents Major Breakthrough in 3-D Printing of Transplantable Organs and Tissues
Advances in Medicine

Universities of Sydney, Harvard, Stanford and MIT, July 2, 2014 - Resaerchers succeeded in printing networking cells with a blood supply - "vascularization" (a functional transportation system) - that can transport life sustaining nutrients and waste disposal to engineered transplanted tissue.

According to the recent press release, the study results represent a "giant leap towards the goal of 'bio-printing' transplantable tissues and organs for people affected by major diseases and trauma injuries".

How 3-D Bio-Printing Works (Video)

Lead author and University of Sydney researcher, Dr Luiz Bertassoni:
"Imagine being able to walk into a hospital and have a full organ printed – or bio-printed, as we call it – with all the cells, proteins and blood vessels in the right place, simply by pushing the 'print' button in your computer screen.

"We are still far away from that, but our research is addressing exactly that. Our finding is an important new step towards achieving these goals.

"At the moment, we are pretty much printing 'prototypes' that, as we improve, will eventually be used to change the way we treat patients worldwide."

Stu Robarts at Gizmag Explains:

"...researchers created a framework of tiny interconnected fibers to serve as a mold, using a bioprinter. The structure was then covered with a 'cell-rich protein-based material' and solidified using light. The fibres were removed to leave a 'network of tiny channels coated with human endothelial cells, which self-organised to form stable blood capillaries in less than a week’."

The team has reported that their bioprinted vascular networks achieved significantly better cell survival, differentiation and proliferation compared to cells that received no nutrient supply. They will now work on incorporating these networks into bioprinted organs, which could potentially be built with enough precision to match individual patients' needs.

It’s hoped that this technology will allow for patients to walk into a hospital and have an entire organ custom-made for them, and printed with all the cells, proteins and blood vessels in the right places.
Sources: The University of Sydney (http://bit.ly/1kjWdVM), Gizmag (http://bit.ly/1osHtbu), Vimeo, Brigham and Women's Hospital Public Affairs department (http://bit.ly/1lXH9BM)

3D Printing at BWH from BWH Public Affairs on Vimeo.

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