3D Printer Used for Creating Artificial Blood Vessels
3D printers could bring about a revolution in the field of medical science as they are being used to create artificial blood vessels through a combination of 3D printing and multiphoton polymerization.
At one point or another, all of us have dreamt about a device that could create a replica of a solid, portable object. Well, a 3D printer won't exactly do so; however, its ability to produce 3D objects is being used to create artificial blood vessels.
Researchers have been successful in creating artificial blood vessels by combining 3D printing with multiphoton polymerization. A 3D printer can't be used to create an object as small as a blood vessel. Therefore, it is used to prepare a substrate wherein the blood vessel is created.
In multiphoton polymerization, a laser beam is focused at one point in order to create polymers in the target material. The artificial blood vessel is created through a combination of these polymers and the substrate.
The selection of the material for polymer is also important. A material that could be converted into polymer, and bonds well with a living tissue, is required. Simply creating a cylindrical tube made of plastic, with size and shape similar to that of a blood vessel, will not suffice.
The inks used in this 3D printer consist of synthetic polymers and modified biological molecules. There's heparin (a very useful anti-coagulant) and anchor peptides as well.
The artificial vessels that are created need to have endothelial cells and should be able to emulate normal blood vessels so that natural cells can attach to them and nutrients are able to pass through.
This new technology is still in its incipient stage; however, the leader of the research team believes that artificial vessels could one day be used in major operations like bypass surgery.
A 3D printer can be used for several purposes. Watch the video below to see some of its possible uses: