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Capillary Printing

The International Business Times has caught wind of an article recently published in the journal Biomaterials Science, authored by researches from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine.

These teams of researchers may “have overcome the final hurdle in making 3D-printed complex human organs, with not just large blood vessels, but even smaller ones such as capillaries.”  As Gisele Calderon, the lead author of the study explains, “Our work has important therapeutic implications because we demonstrate utilization of human cells and the ability to live-monitor their tubulogenesis potential as they form primitive vessel networks.”

“We’ve confirmed that [endothelial] cells have the capacity to form capillary-like structures, both in a natural material called fibrin and in a semi-synthetic material called gelatin methacrylate, or GelMA . The GelMA finding is particularly interesting because it is something we can readily 3D-print for future tissue-engineering applications.”

As with many other 3D printing endeavors, this technology would give doctors far more flexibility and customizability when it comes to patient care.  “The cells printed using the technology can be patient-specific and created to suit his/her condition. It would also reduce the risk of immune system complications during organ transplants since the risk of rejection by the patient’s immune system would be lower.  Furthermore…these organs might be helpful in extending the life of an individual since they will be reproducible.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, and The International Business Times

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