Until now 3D printing helped in the creation of many human organs like ears, heart, eyes, etc. A few days back also, it was impossible to think that 3D printing of blood vessels would even be possible. But now the impossible has been made possible by a team of doctors from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. They have used the advances in 3D bio-printing along with bio-materials to fabricate the first synthetic blood vessels. Organic replication has now taken a leap with this latest discovery.
How did the Process Take Place?
A 3D bio-printer was used by the researchers for creating a fiber template of agarose, which is a naturally derived sugar-based molecule. The template served as the mold for blood vessels. Hydrogel, a substance similar to gelatin was used to cover the mold, thereby forming a cast on the mold. Though liquid, hydrogel is quite durable and coats the channels. The complete structure was further toughened with photocrosslinks.
Ali Khademhosseini, the leader of this project and biomedical engineer, explained that their approach was quite unique as the fiber templates that the team had 3D printed were really strong and they could physically remove these templates to create the channels. He said that this was really essential as strong fiber templates could avoid the dissolution of template layers, which might not be good for the cells trapped in the adjoining gel.
A Big Advancement in Medical Field
The basis of our circulatory system is formed by blood vessels which allow the delivery and flow of blood freely through our body removing dangerous wastes from our body. So, being able to create 3D printed blood vessels is a big step in the advancement of the medical field. As per Khademhosseini, these bio-printed human blood vessels will have many applications in the future. It will be possible to develop customized transplantable tissues or they can also be used to generate safe as well effective drugs outside the human body.
With the rapid advancement of the 3D printing technology in so many fields, it can be expected that the world will be a much better place to live in.
What do you say?
Do you think this innovation will help the health industry? Will 3D printing help in making other sectors as beneficial as the health sector? Share your views with us in the comments below.
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