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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/3/2014 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

'Giant leap' in printing replacement organs could soon be created on demand

Those who await organ transplants play an agonizing game of "beat the clock." Placed on a waiting list, the number of available organs is sent out - the wait for is slow and treacherous, as the recipient and their loved ones pray that time does not run out. Now, researchers claim to have made a "giant leap" towards creating 3D organs. In the hospital of the near future, organs many be simply printed out in hospitals when needed for a transplant.

Utilizing a high-tech 'bio-printer,' researchers have fabricated a multitude of interconnected tiny fibers to serve as the mold for the artificial blood vessels.

Utilizing a high-tech "bio-printer," researchers have fabricated a multitude of interconnected tiny fibers to serve as the mold for the artificial blood vessels.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/3/2014 (9 months ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: 3-D printers, organs, organ transplantation


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - An international team have created the first organs. They include a full vascular network for transporting blood through organs. The technique would allow organs damaged by cancer to be simply replaced.

Utilizing a high-tech "bio-printer," researchers have fabricated a multitude of interconnected tiny fibers to serve as the mold for the artificial blood vessels.

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Doctors then cover the 3D printed structure with a cell-rich protein-based material, which was solidified by applying light to it.

In the final steps, they removed the bio-printed fibers to leave behind a network of tiny channels coated with human endothelial cells, which then organized to form stable blood capillaries in less than a week.

The study reveals that the bio-printed vascular networks promoted significantly better cell survival, differentiation and proliferation compared to cells that received no nutrient supply.

The Universities of Sydney, Harvard, Stanford and MIT have now bio-printed artificial vascular networks which duplicate the body's circulatory system that are necessary for growing large complex tissues.

"Thousands of people die each year due to a lack of organs for transplantation," study lead author and University of Sydney researcher, Dr. Luiz Bertassoni says.
 
"Many more are subjected to the surgical removal of tissues and organs due to cancer, or they're involved in accidents with large fractures and injuries.

"Imagine being able to walk into a hospital and have a full organ printed - or bio-printed, as we call it - with all the cells, proteins and blood vessels in the right place, simply by pushing the 'print' button in your computer screen.

"We are still far away from that, but our research is addressing exactly that.

"Our finding is an important new step towards achieving these goals.

"At the moment, we are pretty much printing 'prototypes' that, as we improve, will eventually be used to change the way we treat patients worldwide."

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