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Artificial Blood Vessels Made With 3D Printing: Icy Veins

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Artificial Blood Vessels Made With 3D Printing: Icy Veins

(CTN News) – Artificial blood vessels can be 3D printed in engineered tissues using ice as a template, which could be used for organ transplants and drug testing one day.

The 3D printing of ice can be used to create structures that resemble blood vessels, according to a group of scientists. Feimo Yang, a graduate student in the labs of Philip LeDuc and Burak Ozdoganlar at Carnegie Mellon University (PA, USA), will present this research at the 68th Biophysical Society Annual Meeting (February 10-14, 2024; PA, USA).

A lot of people in the United States are currently waiting to receive an organ transplant because they are in need of one. Due to the fact that there is a great demand for organs and tissues far outstripping the supply, a push is being made to develop organs and tissues grown in the lab.

Tissue engineering artificial organs present a number of challenges, including the incorporation of functional blood vessel circuitry; previous artificial blood vessel designs failed to replicate the natural structure and function of biological vessels.

Recent research by Yang and colleagues has revealed the potential of 3D ice printing for developing artificial blood vessels that more closely resemble biological vessels. Using heavy water – water in which the hydrogen atoms have been replaced by deuterium, thereby increasing its freezing point – the team streams it onto a cold surface.

Researchers were able to create smooth 3D-printed structures using their system because the water is never completely frozen on the printer.

The 3D-printed ice templates are then used to create the correct vessel-like shapes in a gelatin material called GelMA, into which the templates have been embedded. The researchers were able to construct realistic blood vessels by exposing these molds to UV light, which causes the GelMA to harden and the ice to melt.

GelMA was used to create artificial vessels that contained endothelial cells that survived for two weeks on the GelMA.

Eventually, the team hopes to increase the duration of time that cells can survive on the gel. In addition to testing the effects of drugs on blood vessels, this research could be a breakthrough step in artificial organ transplantation.

Additionally, the researchers hope that one day they will be able to place some patient cells on the gel vessels in order to determine how they react to a drug treatment.


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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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