Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

In 2017 we celebrated five years of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science

15 March 2014

Tissue Printer

Tissue engineers have already used 3D printers to create thin layers of human tissue. To make complex tissues or organs, however, 'bio-printers' must replicate the intricate vascular networks that deliver nutrients and remove waste. Now, researchers can do just that. They’ve designed a machine that can precisely print materials on top of one another in intricate patterns (as seen here) and developed 'bio-inks' containing human cells and/or structural proteins that form scaffolds for those cells. Most importantly, the scientists also produced special type of bio-ink that melts when chilled, allowing them to print an interconnected pattern and then suck out the liquid to leave a network of hollow tubes. By seeding those tubes with blood-vessel-lining cells, the researchers made a tissue construct with the beginnings of working blood vessels – the sort of tissue construct that could be used to test the safety and effectiveness of new drugs.

Written by Daniel Cossins

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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