With both China as an up-and-coming player in the 3D printing industry and bioprinting as the biggest new process on the horizon, it’s no surprise that the two have come together, culminating in what could offer to serve as one of the most significant breakthroughs yet.
According to biotechnological company Sichuan Revotek Co., Ltd based in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, they are responsible for becoming the first producer of 3D printed blood vessels.
While the concepts of bioprinting are clear in terms of using 3D printers to facilitate the fabrication of live tissue and cellular structures with the goal being to stretch that toward organs, what has been truly challenging up until now is finding the tools and materials that can handle the job. From the software to the hardware and the actual ink, these are the areas those in research and development have reported lacking.
Now, Sichuan Revotek reports that not only do they know how to bioprint the blood vessels, but they have a comprehensive plan for doing so. They claim to have produced a full package to consist of stem cell bio-ink technology, a 3D bio-printer, and even a cloud computing platform.
“The creative breakthrough in the 3D blood vessel bio-printing means we have mastered the stem cell-based 3D bio-printing technology,” said Yang Keng, chairman of Sichuan Languang Development Co, Ltd.
This research and development program was headed up by James Kang. An expert in the area, he explains a little bit of basic information about blood vessels, as in essence they are an intricate and crucial part of bioprinting because they are the vehicles by which important nutrients travel to organs; thus, if scientists are hoping to produce 3D printed organs soon, they will need to be able to create these ‘indispensable elements’ for fabricating organs. Having the correct tools in place to make these elements overcomes a giant hurdle as so much of the problem is in producing the tissue gently so as not to damage or kill it all together.
“We have successfully realised the blood vessel regeneration by relying on the 3D bio-printer, the biosynsphere technology and the data model based on cloud computing,” Kang said.
The bio-ink that Kang and his company have developed is called Biosynsphere, and it is meant to offer patient-specific bioprinting for stem cells. This should add to the continued progress and eventual goal of many scientists hoping to be 3D printing organs in the near future.
The building of a foundation toward 3D printing organs is very important in that scientists could transform the traditional process of offering patients organ transplants. It’s possible that the days of long waiting lists and issues with organ rejection would be eliminated as 3D printing would offer immediate results with patient specific tissue. Being able to create the artificial network required with blood vessels is one more huge advance for the medical industry toward the eventual fabrication of organs.
What will this new ink eventually lead to? Let’s hear your thoughts in the 3D Printing Stem Cells forum thread on 3DPB.com.[Source: NDTV]