Researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) achieved a major breakthrough in creating blood vessels by using 3D bioprinting techniques. Blood vessels are the intertwined networks that supply the entire body with blood and dispose the hazardous waste to keep our organs working.
Creation of artificial blood vessels is a major challenge and therefore, scientists at BWH achieved the vascularisation of the hydrogel by first using a 3D bioprinter to make an agarose (naturally derived sugar–based molecule) fibre template, which served as a mould for blood vessels. This mould was then covered with gelatine-like substance called hydrogel and was reinforced through photocrosslinks. The team mostly used methacrylated gelatine laden with cells to demonstrate how functions improved after involving mass transport, cellular viability and cellular differentiation in the fabricated vascular network. This research was led by Khademhosseini and the team then constructed microchannel networks with various architectural features that resembled the blood vessels. The best part of the experiment was the successful formation of endothelial monolayers within the fabricated channels.
The technique holds great potential to create transplantable tissues, which are customized to patient’s needs or for testing the effectiveness of drugs without getting any living beings involved.