Cryogenic 3D Printing could Develop Artificial Organs that Replicate Brain and Lungs
Extremely cold temperature along with 3D printing can create objects out of a composite hydrogel that mimic grey matter of brain and lung tissue.
Printing of biological tissues is important precursor for developing artificial organs. Constructing extremely soft and fragile tissues that resemble the brain and lungs is difficult. Researchers at Imperial College London and Kings College London used cryogenics in combination with 3D printing to create objects out of a composite hydrogel that are about as stiff as grey matter and lung tissue.
Being able to match the structure and softness of body tissues means that these structures could be used in medical procedures to form scaffolds that can act as a template for tissue regeneration, where damaged tissues are encouraged to regrow. Regenerating damaged tissue by ‘seeding’ porous scaffolds with cells and encouraging them to grow allows the body to heal without the issues that normally affect tissue-replacing transplant procedures, such as rejection by the body.
The team used dry ice (solid Co2) to reduce the temperature of composite hydrogel ink below freezing point in an alcohol bath, allowing the structure to solidify and take on the shape of desired organ. The team seeded the artificial tissue coated with collagen, poly-L-lysine, and gelatine, with living skin cells and demonstrated that the cells proliferate in place and continue to grow within the hydrogel structure.
According to 3D Printing for Medical Sector Market report published by Coherent Market Insights, 3D printing is a rapidly emerging cost-effective technology with significant potential to transform healthcare delivery and clinical activities. This technology can be used in a range of devices such as prostheses, hearing aids, custom-made knee and hip implants, dental implants, and surgical instruments. The results of the study could have potential applications in future related to replacement of tissues and eventually organs, which can be regularly implanted into patients suffering from impaired organ disorders. However, further research is required to test the technology.
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