A team of bioengineers have successfully replicated a human artery network, solving the problem of organ regeneration with a sugary sweet solution.
Using a RepRap 3D printer, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and MIT built a vessel network composed of a sugary substance (sucrose, glucose and dextran) that allows tissue to grow around it. The lattice is then dissolved, leaving behind a hollowed-out artery structure capable of receiving nutrients and oxygen to stop the tissue cells from dying.
It sounds like something out of Blade Runner – but the science could be an essential step towards one day building lab-grown organs. It's claimed that the new method avoids many of the previous problems associated with building 3D tissue.
It may be a long time before we see this technique being used to grow organs, but the researchers have scented the sweet smell of success.
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