3D Printed Organs a Step Closer

A new open-source method for bioprinting represents a breakthrough for the field of regenerative medicine, and its success stems from a special ingredient: food dye.

One of the biggest challenges to generating functional tissue replacements has been the inability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to all cells in an artificial organ or tissue transplant. Without blood vessels to supply nutrients and remove waste, tissues will not survive for very long. To build soft vessels, a form of 3D printing has been used called “stereolithography” which relies on light to cause monomers to link together. This process can be tightly controlled; while the xy resolution is determined by the light path, the z resolution is dictated by additives that absorb excess light and restrict the polymerization to the desired layer thickness.

“With this innovation in using these food dyes as light-blockers, we have so much new vascular design freedom. We’re able to make lots of different things in these soft hydrogels that are based on water that we have not been able to make before” explained Jordan Miller, coauthor and assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Rice University

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