But the dream of functional 3-D-printed tissue and organs has long been stymied by a stubborn central challenge: how to get blood to flow to keep the cells alive.
Now, Robbins reports, a team of researchers at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina has made the latest contribution to solving the puzzle, though their findings are still a long way away from helping patients.
Most strikingly, this method worked with cartilage tissue the size and shape of a human baby’s ear, a structure much larger than would have been possible to sustain without blood flow.
“You’re basically creating a vascular network with a printer,” said Dr. Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. He and his colleagues reported the findings Monday in Nature Biotechnology.
To access Robbins’ full — fascinating — STAT story, click here.
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