24/7 Customer Service (800) 927-7671

3D printed liver transplants one step closer

by • July 27, 2016 • No Comments


3D printed organ transplants have been in the cards for a while, but deep tissue printing has proved problematic. Now a team of scientists in Korea ponder they have cracked the code for making functional liver tissue by printing functional mouse liver cells.

Simply put, we require additional livers than we may already have as hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer are increasingly prevalent. The donor system, meanwhile, is inherently flawed.

Patients face agonising treatment while they wait for a suitable liver. There is just no guarantee they can get a matching organ in time and actually if they do, there can be serious complications with the recipient’s immune system rejecting the new organ.

Organs and thick tissue come with serious problems

3D printing promised an end to these problems, but it quite is not as easy as bioprinting a new liver. Vascularized tissue is immensely hard and most bioprinted organs have failed shortly after their construction.

Now the team in Korea, led by Sungho Jang, has taken hepatocytes of a mouse and utilized them to turn it into a 3D hepatic structure. That is the essential assembling block of a new liver.

The cells survived additional than 30 days in vitro, where they were kept in an alginate solution. Other cells which had been generated between sandwiched layers of collagen or easy 2D printed cells showed morphological changes which suggested those routes were a dead end.

With the 3D printing device, yet, the cells maintained their integrity, there were no serious morphological changes and the hepatic marker genes were yet expressed after the one-month period.

Liver cells under the microscope

There’s future, but we are not there yet

So these hepatic cells have the future to create a working 3D printed liver. But we shouldn’t get too excited yet.

Keeping cells going under lab conditions and creating a fully functional liver which works as an actual transplant are two wholly various things. We have seen encouraging results like this preceding, but the problems tend to creep in with thick, vascularized tissue as the capillaries and blood vessels are immensely complex structures and we just haven’t managed to create anything close to the tools which nature gives us.

Executive and scientific director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, Stuart Williams, reckons we’lll be printing hearts inside a decade, alyet it may come much sooner. He says which we have may already generated the smallest capillaries in isolation, but creating the whole organ is additional hard than just throwing together an STL file containing the parts.

Building an organ is a hugely hard task as there are so most variants. Even making connective tissue, the glue which holds the layers together, is supremely complex and the printing system itself is frequently the issue as the materials must be viscous adequate to print and yet take their shape and form immediately.

Stem cells may have the answer

Some of the most encouraging results in new times have come of stem cells, where scientists have utilized 3D printing to place them in a scaffold and effectively grow new tissue which can and so be implanted into a patient.

The Korean researchers have gone a various way, yet, and it can be informative to see if they can turn this into a viable treatment. Whatever takes place, yet, it’s progress.


Latest posts

by admin • March 5, 2017