Scientists can now 3D print artificial human blood vessels. The new technology can be used to develop transplantable tissues customized to each patient’s needs. Credit: Khademhosseini Lab.
Artificial blood vessels created by a team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), using hydrogel constructs that combine advances in 3-D bioprinting technology and biomaterials.
Senior study author, Ali Khademhosseini, PhD, biomedical engineer, and director of the BWH Biomaterials Innovation Research Center, said:
“Engineers have made incredible strides in making complex artificial tissues such as those of the heart, liver and lungs. However, creating artificial blood vessels remains a critical challenge in tissue engineering. We’ve attempted to address this challenge by offering a unique strategy for vascularization of hydrogel constructs that combine advances in 3D bioprinting technology and biomaterials.
Our approach involves the printing of agarose fibers that become the blood vessel channels. But what is unique about our approach is that the fiber templates we printed are strong enough that we can physically remove them to make the channels. This prevents having to dissolve these template layers, which may not be so good for the cells that are entrapped in the surrounding gel.”