As spectacular new scientific processes like bioprinting begin to overshadow many of the other innovations in 3D printing that are currently also transforming many different industries, it’s easy to look ahead to so many fantastic predictions for the future–such as the fabrication of organs for transplants—causing us to lose sight overall of how difficult today’s tasks actually are; for instance, researchers today may have accomplished what was once unimaginable in terms of creating cellular structures via 3D printing—but once the excitement settled, they realized it was very difficult to keep them alive.
Whether they are contained within the human body or outside of it, 3D printed cells require an enormously complex system of nutrition. Great headway is being made on this front though, and we’re following all of it, with recent strides being made with innovations like new bioprinting technology and the actual creation of blood vessels.
And while so much is happening on the bioprinting front it’s often challenging to keep up, one thing is for sure: this is a fascinating area of discovery. Now, researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Harvard John A. Paulson School for Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a method for bioprinting stronger structures in the form of thick vascularized tissue. These constructs are made up of quite the recipe too: human stem cells, an extracellular matrix, and circulatory channels lined with endothelial blood vessel cells.
All of these new processes have been outlined and just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in the paper ‘Three-dimensional bioprinting of thick vascularized tissues,’ by David B. Kolesky, Kimberly A. Homan, Mark A. Skylar-Scott, and Jennifer A. Lewis.