Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

3-D Printing Blood Vessels

PostedMarch 30, 2014

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Anchor Lead: Printing 3-D objects is becoming more commonplace…and now researchers are trying to use such techniques to make working biological organs. But there’s a catch.

Randy Atkins: Unlike a non-living object, if you’re going to make a body part out of real cells, they need to be fed. Jennifer Lewis, a Harvard University engineer, says her lab has – for the first time – figured out a way to 3-D print an organ and a blood vessel network that...

Jennifer Lewis: …goes down in a solid form in the shape of the vascular channels…

Randy Atkins: …and those printed vessels are made of a unique material that liquefies when cooled so then...

Jennifer Lewis: …we can put in syringes and we can pull or suck out that liquid leaving behind open channels that have the exact pattern that we put down originally.

Randy Atkins: Lewis thinks once these relatively large vessels are created, microscopic capillaries will grow from them naturally in the printed organ. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.

Anchor Tag: This is a promising advance, but it will be many years before such organs can be used in patients.