[GRG] bio-printed vascular networks have been achieved bringing 3-D printing of organs closer


Contact: Dan Gaffney
University of Sydney

A step closer to bio-printing transplantable tissues and organs:

Researchers have made a giant leap towards the goal of ‘bio-
printing’ transplantable tissues and organs for people affected by
major diseases and trauma injuries, a new study reports.

Scientists from the Universities of Sydney, Harvard, Stanford and
MIT have bio-printed artificial vascular networks mimicking 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,” says study lead author and University of Sydney
researcher, Dr Luiz Bertassoni.

“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.”

The research challenge – networking cells with a blood supply.

Cells need ready access to nutrients, oxygen and an effective
‘waste disposal’ system to sustain life. This is why
‘vascularisation’ – a functional transportation system – is central
to the engineering of biological tissues and organs.

“One of the greatest challenges to the engineering of large tissues
and organs is growing a network of blood vessels and capillaries,”
says Dr Bertassoni.

“Cells die without an adequate blood supply because blood supplies
oxygen that’s necessary for cells to grow and perform a range of
functions in the body.”

“To illustrate the scale and complexity of the bio-engineering
challenge we face, consider that every cell in the body is just a
hair’s width from a supply of oxygenated blood.

“Replicating the complexity of these networks has been a stumbling
block preventing tissue engineering from becoming a real world
clinical application.”

But this is what researchers have now achieved.

What the researchers achieved

Using a high-tech ‘bio-printer’, the researchers fabricated a
multitude of interconnected tiny fibres to serve as the mold for
the artificial blood vessels.

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

Lastly they removed the bio-printed fibres to leave behind a
network of tiny channels coated with human endothelial cells, which
self organised to form stable blood capillaries in less than a week
(see diagram below).

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

Significance of the breakthrough

According to Dr Bertassoni, a major benefit of the new bio-printing
technique is the ability to fabricate large three-dimensional micro-
vascular channels capable of supporting life on the fly, with
enough precision to match individual patients’ needs.

“While recreating little parts of tissues in the lab is something
that we have already been able to do, the possibility of printing
three-dimensional tissues with functional blood capillaries in the
blink of an eye is a game changer,” he says.

“Of course, simplified regenerative materials have long been
available, but true regeneration of complex and functional organs
is what doctors really want and patients really need, and this is
the objective of our work.


About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. http://www.AgingIntervention.org Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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