Researchers find new way of printing living tissue

December 2, 2019

Researchers from Harvard University have shown progress toward a 3D bioprinting method that could potentially save the lives of those waiting for organ transplants.

Growing organs in the lab is one of the ways regenerative medicine could be applied to more patients.

The study was published in the journal Science Advances, along with a video of the innovative method.

Researchers grew hundreds of thousands of heart stem cells that were molded and packed into organoids, or tissue that mimics a mini-model of an organ.

A special ink made a pattern in the mold of densely packed cells and was later removed, creating channels in the tissue that replicate blood vessels.

The successfully engineered heart tissue then beat for more than seven days.

“With many years of experience in 3D printing, I can say that the extrusion printing method from the Wyss Institute is intricate, and yet elegant,” said Anand Srinivasan, Director of Innovation and BioDesign, Research and Development at BioBridge Global.

The new bioprinting technique also increased the survival rate of the cells than those created with other bioprinting techniques.

“This is an entirely new paradigm for tissue fabrication,” said Mark Skylar-Scott, an author of the study, in the university’s news release. “Rather than trying to 3D-print an entire organ’s worth of cells, SWIFT (sacrificial writing into functional tissue) focuses on only printing the vessels necessary to support a living tissue construct that contains large quantities of OBBs (organ building blocks), which may ultimately be used therapeutically to repair and replace human organs with lab-grown versions containing patients’ own cells.”

Researchers are working on improving their technique to be able to bioprint other organs.

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