3D printing of vascular structures
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3D Printing Of Vascular Structures With A New Material Discovered

A new material that can be 3D printed to create tissue-like vascular structures has been discovered by an international team of scientists.

Professor Alvaro Mata at the Queen Mary University London and the University of Nottingham and his team of researchers developed a new way o 3D print graphene oxide with a protein. This particular protein can organize into tubular structures that show some features of vascular tissue. Nature Communications published the study.

This research provides opportunities in biofabrication by enabling simultaneous bottom-up self-assembly of synthetic and biological components and top-down 3D bioprinting in an orderly manner from the nanoscale. Scientists biofabricated micro-scale capillary-like fluidic structures that show physiologically relevant properties, have the capacity to withstand flow and more importantly, compatible with cells. Recreation of vasculature in the lab can be made possible due to this development which would have implications in the development of efficient and safer drugs.

Material with remarkable properties

Multiple components organize into larger well-defined structures through a process called self-assembly. Molecular building-blocks are controllably assembled through this process into functional and complex materials of remarkable properties like the capacity to replicate, grow and perform robust functions

Self-assembly of a protein with graphene oxide enabled the manufacture of the new biomaterial. A strong interaction is generated between the flexible regions of protein when it ordered and conformed to the graphene oxide through the mechanism of assembly. It is possible to direct the assembly of two components at multiple size scales into complex robust structures by controlling the way they are mixed.

Structures with intricate geometries and resolutions down to 10um can be printed using this material as a 3D printing bioink. Scientists showed that vascular-like structures can be built in the presence of cells and exhibiting biologically relevant mechanical and chemical features.

Until now, the possibility to build devices and robust functional materials through self-assembly of molecular components was limited. This new research introduces a new method that can be integrated with additive manufacturing to easily fabricate biofluidic devices that allow us to replicate key parts of human tissues and organs in the lab, Dr. Yuanhao Wu, a lead researcher involved in the project said.