The Next Organs Donated Could Be Artificially 3D-Printed

A new study published in the journal Science demonstrates scientists being able to print a 3D complex vasculature that imitates the human’s body natural courses for blood, air and other crucial fluids. Scientists have used a hydrogel model of an air sac which mimicked the process of the lungs, with airways that send oxygen to the blood vessels around it.

So many people are on the waiting lists of organ transplant all over the world, and those who at the moment in time receive the organ and make it through the surgery are still prone to immune-suppressing medications to avoid the body to reject the organ. Because it could eventually and hypothetically solve these issues by enabling experts to print substitute organs from the patient’s cells, bioprinting has gathered a lot of interest. Someday, an entire supply of 3D functional organs could be used to treat people all over the world.

Jordan Miller, assistant professor at Rice University in the US,​ said that bioprinting might advance to be an essential part of medicine in the next few years.

The Next Organs Donated Could Be Artificially 3D-Printed

To complete this study, the team of scientists designed a new bioprinting technology which is open-sourced and named it the ‘stereolithography apparatus for tissue engineering’ (SLATE). The system utilizes supplement manufacturing to create soft hydrogels, one tier after another. Tiers are printed from a liquid pre-hydrogel compound that changes its state into solid when subjected to blue light. From below, a digital light converting projector sheds light, subjecting continuous 2D layers of the design at high resolution, with pixel diameter differing from 10 to 15 microns.

Tests of the structure imitating the lungs showed that the tissues were sufficiently strong to prevent breaking during blood flow and the pulsating ‘breathing.’

Further examinations then concluded that red blood cells could receive oxygen as they sailed through a structure of blood vessels encircling the ‘breathing’ airbag. This oxygen process is almost the same as the gas exchange that appears in the lung’s alveolar air sacs. In the experiment of therapeutic implants for liver illnesses, the researchers printed 3D tissues, charged them with primary liver cells and inserted them into mice. The tests showed that the liver cells got through the implantation.

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Emmy Skylar

About the Author: Emmy Skylar

Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News.  She covers politics and the economy.

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