3D Printing for the Human Organ Shortage: Putting Bio back into Bioprinting
Living cells need oxygen to survive. Since the advent of 3D bioprinting, doctors and scientists have been asked, “When can we transplant a 3D printed heart, a kidney, or a lung?”
It is tantalizing and exciting for the human race to dream of using a straightforward technology to address pressing medical problems for the millions of people suffering from organ failure. It is so exciting that mock-ups of heart and lung structures are printed as examples of the power of 3D printing to re-create any structure–well, almost any structure.
There has been a technical problem, a tiny one: capillaries. Capillaries are the 5-10 micrometer blood vessels (1/10th the size of a human hair) that are the primary place of oxygen exchange throughout our bodies. Capillaries are so small that sometimes single red blood cells fold sideways to make it through. All organisms that rely on oxygen and have bodies larger than 300 micrometers have some version of capillaries.
Nozzle-based printers are the standard in 3D printing. The problem is that no nozzle-based printing system can print at a high enough resolution to build capillaries.
Every tissue in the human body is supplied with oxygen by capillaries; in our lungs, capillaries are where oxygen is absorbed when we breathe.
3DHEALS During 2019 JP Morgan Healthcare Conferences
Date: Tuesday, Jan 8th, 2019 | Event time: 6:30-8:30, San Francisco, CA, Waitlist
3DHEALS Munich: Happy Hour
Date: Jan 14th, 2019 | Event time: 7:30-9:00 PM, Mecuris GmbH, Munich, Germany Register
3DHEALS Chicago: Happy Hour
Date: Jan 30th, 2019 | Event time: 6:00-8:00 PM, Theory, Chicago, Register
3DHEALS Washington DC: Pushing Boundaries – Healthcare 3D Printing and Bioprinting
Date: Feb 27th, 2019 | Event time: 6:30-9:30 PM, Washington DC, Register
3DHEALS Chicago: 3D Print Life
Date: Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 | Event time: 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM, Chicago, IL, Register
3DHEALS @ CMIT 2019: Entrepreneurship and Commercialization workshop during CMIT 2019
Date: Thursday, July 11, 2019 | Event time: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM, Los Angeles, CA, More info in upcoming weeks
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