The interesting intersection between the ‘Old’ and New sciences of Stem Cells and 3D-Printing is starting to provide some amazing developments in both Life-Extension and Replacement-Parts.
The well-known windpipe-replacement is also one of the bigger successes in that category as of late.
*However, to make these things Truly Useful, there are still quite a few obstacles to overcome.
-And now, Make that quite a few, -Minus One.
Lawrence Lewis and her team have come up with quite an ingenious advance to the problem of printing a ‘part’ that has Blood-Vessels.
Their solution, just like the main feature inside your otherwise-unreliable, para-explosive, jet-fuel-expensive, desktop inkjet-printer was brilliant, elegant, and simple:
Several. Different. “Inks”. -BOOM!
So the Harvard Team came up with this neat trick:
Make a 3D printer that has several heads, and then use different “inks” for the different regions or material-types of each part they want to create.
-Right now they have 2 inks: one for the structure, and one for the blood-vessels.
But wait; There’s more!
Yet another clever turn-of-thought occurred to them: Think Like A Sculptor who does castings.
The “Vessel”-sites of course would have to be +/- Empty Tubes,
So: How do you print something in 3D that’s completely-enclosed, even with 2 “Inks”,
-BUT then later-on have one of those inks go POOF! And Vanish?
I’ll leave that bit of Genius as a little guessing-game exercise for the reader. You can then see if you were right over at the Links:
PS: We don’t yet have all the nerves, hair, sweat-glands, skin-pores, adult-acne & pheromones that all the super fancy Sci-Fi movies have,
But make no mistake ladies and germs, the future of modular body-part replacement just got A LOT brighter.
Especially considering our friend in Sweden with the replacement vein.
-And if the Harvard team can pull off this new magic for blood-vessels, how far away can all the other stuff really be?
Check out the Links for those last few tasty morsels of Jennifer Lewis genius!:
“Why You Can’t Print That”, by Something Of That Ilk
“Printer Fail, You Has One”, by Cheezburger user, Purdy17 Icanhascheezburger.com
• Source: TechReview-Organs Get a Blood-Supply
• via: Mashable
• More Coverage: Harvard-Lewis Lab Team
• Source Study: AdvancedMaterials-3D Bioprinting of Vascularized, Heterogeneous Cell-Laden Tissue Constructs