Traditionally, getting a clear answer about what’s going on inside our organs has required deep cuts — literally, by slicing up tissue.
In April 2019 the process saw a revolution as researchers, led by director of the Institute for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine at the Helmholtz Institute Ali Ertürk, 3D printed transparent human organs using stem cells. Now, a team also led by Ertürk has announced in the journal Cell that they’ve overhauled their technique — creating stunning images of a transparent human brain, eye, and kidney.
Creating transparent organs relies on a process called “optical clearing.” Essentially, all tissues contain water, lipids, and protein which refract light. By adding chemicals that alter refraction, researchers can exploit these properties to allow light through tissue. Adult human organs tend to build up dense, light-blocking tissues, but a new combination of chemicals can bore through those tissues allowing us to […]
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