Scientists create the first printer that saves lives

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Des scientifiques créent la première imprimante qui sauve des vies

Hardware News Scientists Create First Life-Saving Printer Posted on 08/08/2022 at 20:20 3D printing of living tissues continues to advance. A hope for many patients. Today, science is advancing by leaps and bounds towards a 3D printer capable of saving lives. Every year in France thousands of people benefit from an organ transplant: heart, lungs, cornea, the possibilities are endless. In 2021, 5,273 patients on the waiting list were transplanted in France. Organ transplantation saves lives, but it is conditioned by many limitations. The first, and not least, is none other than the availability of organs. The “donations” are, in the vast majority of cases, from deceased people who are compatible with the patient awaiting a transplant. There are, of course, cases of transplants performed by living donors, but the question of compatibility remains essential. 3D printers at the service of organ transplants In the United States, where the waiting list for an organ transplant d ‘organs exceeds 100,000 patients, 17 people. they die every day before they can benefit from a transplant. A situation that pushes many teams of researchers to work hard to find an alternative to traditional transplantation. Among the ways mentioned, there is that of bioprinting. Researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute are actively working on a bioprinting method capable of making living tissue using a 3D printing process. This would make it possible to create thick tissue containing human cells, which should eventually enable the printing of viable organs for transplants. Scientists are currently working to extend the life of these tissues, which currently “live” for about six weeks. They are on their way to solving one of the most essential problems in bioprinting, namely the vascularization of printed tissues. The video published by the Wyss Institute is quite fascinating to watch: anyone who has ever seen a standard 3D printer can easily find a known pattern there. There is no plastic here, but layers made up of living cells that, once stacked, make up a thick vascularized tissue. “The method uses a customizable printed silicone mold to house and seal the printed tissue on a chip. Within this mold, a grid of larger vascular channels containing living endothelial cells is printed with silicone ink. A independent ink, containing live mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is overlaid using a separate print job. After printing, a fluid composed of fibroblasts and extracellular matrix is ​​used to fill the open regions within the construction”, explain the researchers, to ensure their survival, but also their development. This phase is very delicate and it is this that is currently at the center of current research: 3D printed fabrics visible through a microscope. There we can perceive the vascularization of the stem cells. What is living tissue 3D printing for? The scientists hope, as a first step, to succeed in creating vascularized tissues viable enough to be used in the context of regenerative medicine, for example to treat severe burns. In this situation, the printed tissue would contain cells from the body of the person to whom the transplant is intended, which would greatly limit the risk of rejection. In terms of 3D printing viable organs, there will still be a long way to go. When the technology is viable enough to be tested, it will take years of clinical trials to test the effectiveness of the printed tissues. The day has yet to come when we will see a heart ready to be transplanted from a 3D printer, but researchers are working on the subject to make this sci-fi vision a reality.
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