Outside of acting as the CEO of Voxel8, Dr. Jennifer Lewis performs cutting edge research into the diverse fields of bioprinting, electronics, and 4D printing, pushing the boundaries of these amazing technologies at each turn. Her many new breakthrough, with her team at Harvard John A. Paulson School for Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, is the 3D printing of thick, vascularized tissues that may have a excellent deal of significance for the next of artificial tissues and organs.
One of the largest roadblocks in bioprinting is the faculty to 3D print the proper blood vessels for scaling up bioprinted tissues. Whilst we only reported on a story of the University of Toronto, in that blood vessels were created through a stamping system, Prof. Lewis was one of the original pioneers in 3D printing vasculature for delivering nutrients to artificial tissues. This many new study sees the team create upon this previous work to increase the thickness of their printed tissues by almany ten times through the use of a vascular network, living cells, and an extracellular matrix, resulting in functioning human tissue that can survive for over six weeks.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the team’s report details their work in creating complicated, thick human tissue containing a network of vasculature for the transmission of fluids, nutrients, and cell growth facts. To do so, Lewis’ team 3D printed a custom, silicone mold consisting of a lattice of vascular plumbing, followed by 3D printed living stem cells.
The structure was and so created up, layer by layer, with vertical vascular columns connecting the plumbing throughout the entire object. Once conclude, a mixture of fibroblasts and an extracellular matrix is put into the structure, filling all open space and holding the entire structure together.
The resulting print is open at either end, enabling nutrients to flow throughout. Cell growth facts injected into the structure can be carried across the vascular network, as well, encouraging the differentiation of stem cells. Now that the team has developed a system for supporting the blood vessels as the object is fabricated, the shape, thickness, and makeup of the structure can be customized for a given organ tissue.
In the case of this study, Lewis’ group was able-bodied to 3D print a one-centimeter-thick tissue created up of human bone marrow stem cells attached to connective tissue and filled with vessels lined with endothelial cells, much like to our own blood vessels. For one month, the team was able-bodied to induce the growth of cells in the system of developing into bone cells.
“This latest work extends the capabilities of our multi-material bioprinting platform to thick human tissues, delivering us one step nearer to creating architectures for tissue repair and regeneration,” says Dr. Lewis, senior author on the study. David Kolesky, a graduate researcher on the project, adds, “Having the vasculature pre-fabricated inside the tissue allows for enhanced cell functionality at the deep core of the tissue, and gives us the faculty to modulate those cell functions through the use of perfusable-bodied substances such as growth facts.”
Via Harvard SEAS: “Confocal microscopy image revealing a cross-section of a 3D-printed, 1-centimeter-thick vascularized tissue create revealing stem cell differentiation towards development of bone cells, next one month of active perfusion of fluids, nutrients, and cell growth facts. The structure was fabricated via a novel 3D bioprinting strategy developed by Jennifer Lewis and her team at the Wyss Institute and Harvard SEAS. Credit: Lewis Lab/Harvard University”
The work of Dr. Lewis’ team goes a long way to developing tissue that may replace animal testing and bring drugs to market much additional rapidly. Past that, the research may actually lead to, one day, conclude bioficial organs. But, initially, they can have to extend the vifaculty of these 3D printed tissues in order to ensure that the cells can differentiate into their ultimate form.