Artificial blood vessels made on a 3D printer may soon be used for transplants of lab-created organs.
Until now, the stumbling block in tissue engineering has been supplying artificial tissue with nutrients that have to arrive via capillary vessels.
A team at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany has solved that problem using 3D printing and a technique called multiphoton polymerisation.
Artificial blood vessels could help those in urgent need of an organ transplant.
The findings will be shown at the Biotechnica Fair in Germany in October.
Out of thousands of patients in desperate need of an organ transplant there are inevitably some who do not get it in time.
In Germany, for instance, more than 11,000 people have been put on an organ transplant waiting list in 2011 alone.
To make sure more patients receive these life-saving surgeries, researchers in tissue engineering all over the globe have been working on creating artificial tissue and even entire organs in the lab.
But for a lab-made organ to function, it needs to be equipped with artificial blood vessels - tiny and extremely complex tubes that our organs naturally possess, used to carry nutrients.
The individual techniques are already functioning and they are presently working in the test phase”
Numerous attempts have been made to create synthetic capillaries, and the latest one by the German team seems to be especially promising.
"The individual techniques are already functioning and they are presently working in the test phase; the prototype for the combined system is being built," said Dr Gunter Tovar, who heads the BioRap project at Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart.
3D printer builds artificial tissue replacements cell by cell. Source
3D printing technology has been increasingly used in numerous industries, ranging from creating clothes, architectural models and even chocolate treats.
But this time, Dr Tovar’s team had a much more challenging printing mission.
To print something as small and complex as a blood vessel, the scientists combined the 3D printing technology with two-photon polymerisation - shining intense laser beams onto the material to stimulate the molecules in a very small focus point.
The material then becomes an elastic solid, allowing the researchers to create highly precise and elastic structures that would be able to interact with a human body’s natural tissue.
So that the synthetic tubes do not get rejected by the living organism, their walls are coated with modified biomoelcules.
Such biomolecules are also present in the composition of the "inks" used for the blood vessel printer, combined with synthetic polymers.
"We are establishing a basis for applying rapid prototyping to elastic and organic biomaterials," said Dr Tovar.
"The vascular systems illustrate very dramatically what opportunities this technology has to offer, but that’s definitely not the only thing possible."
"Surgeon Anthony Atala demonstrates an early-stage experiment that could someday solve the organ-donor problem: a 3D printer that uses living cells to output a transplantable kidney. Using similar technology, Dr. Atala’s young patient Luke Massella received an engineered bladder 10 years ago; we meet him onstage."
Netanyahu ‘spat in our face,’ White House officials said to say 2015-01-23 22:28
The White House’s outrage over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to speak before Congress in March — a move he failed to coordinate with the administration — began to seep through the diplomatic cracks on Friday, with officials telling Haaretz the Israeli leader had “spat” in President Barack Obama’s face.
“We thought we’ve seen everything,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed senior ...
The Return of the Protected Jewish Minority in Europe 2015-01-23 2:53
Contrary to the standard narratives of Jewish ‘history,’ a prominent feature of the historical presence of Jews in Europe has been their protected status. The common context for this status was a symbiotic relationship between the Jewish minority and exploitative or tyrannical elites. As agents of the feared elite, as foreigners, as exploiters in their own right, and with interests ...
Truth Revealed: McCain’s ‘Moderate Rebels’ in Syria ARE ISIS 2015-01-23 1:50
Poor John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Washington’s real first couple. They only want to arm the ‘moderate opposition’ in Syria. Three years on, how come their master plan isn’t working, while ISIS has grown so strong?
Despite what media lauded as, “the largest demonstration in France’s history – bigger than liberation at the end of WWII!” (can you rightly compare the ...
European 'No-Go' Zones: Fact or Fiction? 2015-01-22 0:37
Comment: This is an interesting article about Muslim no-go Zones in Europe. However, keep in mind that the focus in this piece is not addressing the root of the problem, but a symptom of the problem. Yes, there is an issue with large Islamic colonies in Europe today, but the article mentions nothing about who has changed the immigration laws ...
A Radical Traditionalist Critique of the Anti-Islam Movement 2015-01-22 0:20
The terrorist attack against the staff at the magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris shook an entire continent. In a European climate in which protests against the perceived Islamization of our civilizational sphere becomes ever more widespread, showing in increased electoral success for moderate nationalist parties, as well as in expressions of mass public dissent, the recent resurgence of violent Islamic ...