(USA)

3D printing body parts and human organs are breakthrough innovations that are transforming what is possible.

Researchers in America recently took another significant step in the journey to producing 3D printed organs and tissues. A team from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine demonstrated how to use a combination of cells to ‘initiate a process called tubulogenesis that is crucial to the formation of blood-transporting capillaries’.

“Ultimately, we’d like to 3-D print with living cells, a process known as 3-D bioprinting, to create fully vascularized tissues for therapeutic applications,” explained  Jordan Miller, Rice University assistant professor of bioengineering. “To get there, we have to better understand the mechanical and physiological aspects of new blood-vessel formation and the ways that bioprinting impacts those processes. We are using 3-D bioprinting to build tissues with large vessels that we can connect to pumps, and are integrating that strategy with these iPS-ECs to help us form the smallest capillaries to better nourish the new tissue.”

And the bioprinting revolution is gathering pace.

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego have printed a lifelike, functional blood vessel network. While scientists at the Wyss Institute used three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting to produce a representation of a section of the kidneys that contain living human cells. And a 3D bioprinter created by Spanish scientists prints functioning human skin which could be used in transplants and cosmetic testing.