Chinese scientists at Sichuan Revotek have successfully implanted a 3D printed blood vessel made from stem cells into rhesus monkeys.
Scientists all over the world are working hard on creating biosynthetic alternatives to organs… and now doctors at Sichuan Revotek made a huge step towards this objective.
Revotek filled a bio-printer with bio-ink synthesized from stem cells. They 3D printed blood vessels which were about 2 cm long. The scientists then implanted these 3D printed blood vessels into the chests of thirty rhesus monkeys.
The implanted 3D bioprinted stem cell grafts promoted vascular tissue regeneration. Most interestingly, the merging of the organic aorta and the 3D printed blood vessels took just one week. One month later and the stem cells had grown into the different cells. While over time, according to Revotek, they became “indistinguishable” from the monkeys’ original vessels.
Kang Yujian is the lead scientist on the Revotek project and director of Regenerative Medicine Research Center of West China Hospital at Sichuan University. He first started working on stem cells in the USA back in the 90s.
Kang believes that his research could benefit millions of people across the globe. Every year 156m people need vessel support structures or artificial blood vessels.
Although this is a major breakthrough and one of the most mature yet, research has been conducted in laboratories on a small-scale. The next challenge will be making this technology as safe as possible.
However, it’s believed that it could be twenty years or more before we see 3D printed organs transplanted into human patients. Also, using stem cells from the same body could bring down the cost of transplants and also increase the chance of healing.
The next step is for the results to be published by Revotek so that other labs across the globe can replicate the procedure. As well as this, Revotek has plans now to begin another trial, this time with more monkeys.
Source: Financial Times
License: The text of "Chinese Scientists Implant 3D Printed Blood Vessels into Monkeys" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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