Oct 10, 2011
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Artificial bood vessels created on 3d printer

 

German scientists construct blood vessels on 3d printer

German scientists construct blood vessels on 3d printer

In 2009, Dr. Atala, the director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, explained how one day 3d printing technology might be used to print organs and thanks to a team of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute this future may be closer than ever before.

Until now, the supply of nutrients to artificial tissue via capillary vessels has proven a major stumbling block in tissue engineering. In order for a lab-made organ to function, it needs to be equipped with tiny and extremely complex tubes or blood vessels, to carry nutrients.

Numerous attempts to create synthetic capillaries have been made, but it is the work carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany that appears especially promising. According to the head of the BioRap project at Fraunhofer, Dr. Gunter Tovar, “the individual techniques are already functioning and they are presently working in the test phase”.

By combining 3d printing  with two-photon polymerisation – shining laser beams onto the 3d printed material in order to stimulate molecules in a very narrow focus point, it was possible to create an elastic solid which would interact with natural human tissue. These synthetic vessels are then coated with modified bio-molecules to prevent rejection by the living organism.

While still a long way off, this latest development brings 3D printing of tissue one step closer to saving the lives.

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