Using sugar, silicone and a 3-D printer, a team of bioengineers at Rice University and surgeons at the University of Pennsylvania have created an implant with an intricate network of blood vessels that points toward a future of growing replacement tissues and organs for transplantation.
The research may provide a method to overcome one of the biggest challenges in regenerative medicine: How to deliver oxygen and nutrients to all cells in an artificial organ or tissue implant that takes days or weeks to grow in the lab prior to surgery.
The new study was performed by a research team led by Jordan Miller, assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice, and Pavan Atluri, assistant professor of surgery at Penn. The study showed that blood flowed normally through test constructs that were surgically connected to native blood vessels. The report was published in the journal Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods.
http://www.3ders.org/articles/20151103-researchers-create-implantable-blood-vessels-using-sugar-silicone-and-a-3d-printer.html (image taken from this article)