Scientists Build Vascular Network Using Sugar and a 3-D Printer
Bioengineers have long dreamed of creating living tissue that can be molded into everything from replacement human livers to lab-grown steaks. But a major obstacle has been keeping engineered tissues alive. Cells need a constant supply of nutrients and oxygen, and engineering a blood vessel system to deliver those nutrients and remove waste has remained elusive.
Researchers at University of Pennsylvania say they may have found a way to create vasculatures using sugar and a 3-D printer. The design starts with sucrose and glucose and, with a custom RepRap 3-D printer, the scientists were able to turn the mixture into a free-standing, three dimensional vascular template.
Jordan Miller, a postdoc at the university who co-led the research team, says he got the idea after visiting a Body Worlds exhibition, where he saw plastic casts of whole-organ blood vessels on display.
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