Printing Blood Vessels With Sugar
We can grow the tissue, but how do we feed it?
One of the roadblocks in creating human tissue on demand is ensuring that it will stay alive inside the recipient’s body. And to do that it needs blood vessels. If you were to drop a hunk of cells in your body, assuming your immune system didn’t eat it up, you’d be hard pressed to get good bloodflow to the middle. Tumors also have this problem, incidentally.
Those previous technologies aren’t easy by any means, as much as I like to joke, but as they grow more routine we need a way to get blood vessels into these lab-grown tissues. Why not print your organ on a scaffold of pre-grown blood vessels?
That’s what this Penn group has in mind. By creating a scaffold of sugar polymers using a 3-D printer, and then pouring a cell solution over the top, they can create precise plumbing systems on demand. The cells form into vessels, and the polymers dissolve away. If these scaffolds are sent to other “tissue factories”, we could grow that kidney with the blood vessels already installed!
Science, you’re amazing.
Source: Boing Boing