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3D-printing blood vessels with laser-welded sugar

3D-printing blood vessels with laser-welded sugar

Written by David

July 16, 2020

Bioengineers at Rice University showed they could keep densely packed cells alive for two weeks in relatively large constructs by creating complex blood vessel networks from templates of 3D-printed sugar.

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“One of the biggest hurdles to engineering clinically relevant tissues is packing a large tissue structure with hundreds of millions of living cells,” says Ian Kinstlinger, a bioengineering graduate student in Rice’s Brown School of Engineering. “Delivering enough oxygen and nutrients to all the cells across that large volume of tissue becomes a monumental challenge.”

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Nature solved this problem through the evolution of complex vascular networks, which weave through our tissues and organs in patterns resembling tree limbs. The vessels simultaneously become smaller in thickness but greater in number as they branch away from a central trunk, allowing oxygen and nutrients to be efficiently delivered to cells throughout the body.

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“By developing new technologies and materials to mimic naturally […]

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