Scientists Can Now 3D Print Blood Vessels in Just a Few Seconds

The Future hasn't yet made good on that promise of hoverboards, but we do now have the capability to create new blood vessels quickly, thanks to 3D printing and some innovative techniques. It seems 3D printers, while great for making custom 20-sided dice and tiny companion cubes, is good for more than just churning out knick-knacks. 

Nanoengineering professor Stephen Chen and his colleagues have figured out a way to print biological materials like blood vessels in mere seconds. The new process is called Dynamic Optical Projection Stereolithography, or DOPsL, and it actually works a bit like 3D sculpting. Unlike previous techniques of printing blood vessels which required a sugar-based scaffold to be printed first and then covered in stem cells layer-by-layer, this new approach takes a solution of photo-sensitive biopolymers and cells that scientists zap with a laser. When the light hits the cells, they harden, and in a matter of seconds, a form emerges.

For more about 3D printing's current capabilities, including the new vessel-printing technique, check out the rest on Motherboard. Link | Image UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering


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