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First 3D-Printed Blood Vessel Transplant Successful in Monkeys! Biotech Breakthrough on the Way

Dec 14, 2016 07:33 AM EST

Scientists in China have appeared to have uncovered a biotechnology breakthrough. They have just successfully implanted 3D-bioprinted stem cell grafts in monkeys and were able to promote vascular tissue regeneration.

According to Mirror, the 3D-printed vessels just took seven days to merge with the organic aorta.This appears to be proof that 3D bioprinting has become one of the most exciting areas of biotechnology today. Unlike plastic and metal 3D printers, 3D bioprinters can be used to fabricate human tissue and organs from stem cells.

According to 3Ders, the "perfection" of this technique could help transplant these into human bodies that can replace defective livers, kidneys, and hearts without waiting for actual donors.

However, at present, most researchers in 3D bioprinting have been realistic about the timescale required to 3D print organs. A lot appear to be on the way, but some believe it could take decades before they become fully functional. Others hopeful of seeing 3D printed transplantable organs have to understand that the relevant authorities will also have to approve their procedures.

According to CCTV News, this is because 3D bioprinting still holds a high-risk nature on organ transplants. These organs may more or less end up in pharmaceutical labs than the operating room as 3D-bioprinted tissue can also be used to simulate the equivalent parts of the body.

This means they can be used ex vivo to test the effects of new drugs on the body. Despite their usefulness, however, these fabricated parts still lack a lot of attributes of natural human organs, which means they may be more or less unfit for transplant.

Regardless, it is a major shock in the field to have heard that these researchers from China have made this massive breakthrough. The announcement from Y. James Kang, chief scientific officer and chief executive officer of Revotek and director of the Regenerative Medicine Research Center of West China Hospital at Sichuan University, proves there is more to the research than meets the eye.

According to him, researchers used biologically active blood vessels that were printed from a Revotek 3D blood vessel bioprinter. They were printed from a "biosynsphere" or a stem cell bioink, which was prepared from cells from monkeys. They were used to replace a two-centimeter segment of the monkey's abdominal aorta.

Kang said that five days after the surgery, the cells transformed into endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells and other forms of vascular tissues. Two days later, the blood vessels began to merge with the rhesus monkey's own abdominal aorta.

The astounding factor is that this method was just completed in a single month. After close monitoring, it was also revealed that the blood vessels act the same way as the original aorta and that no further treatments were needed afterward.

This presents an exciting prospect on the development of treatments for human subjects, as a lot of people in the world also suffer from cardiovascular diseases.  

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