The 3D printed artificial blood vessel is capable of angiogenesis and vasculogenesis. Image via Bioactive Materials.
Bioprinting a beating heart
The researchers believed that, in theory, their print-and-culture process could enable the fabrication of functional complex tissues and even full organs which are connected with blood vessel networks and able to survive for long periods of time.
The team proved their idea by 3D printing a piece of vascularized cardiac tissue that maintained rhythmic beating and was classed as “alive” for at least six months. They then established a two-robot platform in order to achieve simultaneous bioprinting of multiple types of cells on complex-shaped blood vessel scaffolds.
Going forwards, the researchers believe their novel bioprinting platform offers a potential new strategy to fabricate large-scale and functional artificial tissues and organs in an in vitro environment.
More information on the study can be found in the paper titled: “A multi-axis robot-based bioprinting system supporting natural cell function preservation and cardiac tissue fabrication,” published in the Bioactive Materials journal. The study is co-authored by Z. Zhang, C. Wu, C. Dai, Q. Shi, G. Fang, D. Xie, X. Zhao, Y. Liu, C. Wang, and X. Wang.