Bioprinted Blood Vessels Pave Way to Organs-On-Demand

07 July 2014

Researchers believe that we may be one step closer to being able to use 3D-printed tissue in organ transplant surgery.

Over the last year or so we've seen a remarkable number of situations in which 3D printing technology has been deployed in the medical world, including the bioprinting of liver tissue. One problem that has yet to be overcome though is the vascularisation of printed organs -- that is, making sure that the cells within any tissue are connected to the blood supply so that the organs are capable of surviving on a long-term basis.

Researchers from Harvard, MIT, Stanford and the University of Sydney have been working together to try to find a solution that will allow them to overcome this hurdle and eventually create organs grown from patient stem cells that can be successfully transplanted into their own bodies.

The University of Sydney has now announced that the research has led to the bioprinting of artificial vascular networks that mimic those found within the human body's circulatory system, bringing hope that eventually physicians will be able to print fully working organs on-demand.

The deficit of transplantable organs causes thousands of deaths that could otherwise be averted every year, and others are subjected to invasive surgery involving the removal of tissue or entire organs due to cancer or injury.

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