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article image3D printing gets closer to printing living human tissue

By Tim Sandle     Mar 10, 2014 in Science
A new bioprinting method has created intricately patterned 3-D tissue constructs with multiple types of cells and tiny blood vessels. Researchers are hopeful that printing living tissue will soon be possible.
3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes.
With the new technology for creating cells and blood vessels, the scientists behind the project regard this as the foundational step toward creating 3D living tissue.
Currently when scientists have tried to print layers of tissue, cells on the interior starve for oxygen and nutrients, and have no good way of removing carbon dioxide and other waste. So they suffocate and die. This new research has focused on tiny, thin-walled blood vessels that nourish the tissue and remove waste. Getting this right is key to creating living cells. In theory, the ability to form functional vascular networks in 3D tissues before they are implanted not only enables thicker tissues to be formed
The method also represents an early but important step toward building fully functional replacements for injured or diseased tissue that can be designed from CAT scan data using computer-aided design. This could then be used by surgeons to repair or replace damaged tissue.
The method was developed by Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). The research to date has been published in the journal Advanced Materials, in a paper titled “3D Bioprinting of Vascularized, Heterogeneous Cell-Laden Tissue Constructs”.
More about 3D printing, Tissue, Cells, Skin
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