New 3D-printer will print sugar frames for growing living organs

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<pre>New 3D-printer will print sugar frames for growing living organs

The joint work of bioengineering professor Rohit Bhargava and Dr. Matthew Gelber can revolutionize medicine. They managed to design a 3D printer, in which the working substance is isomalt, replace the sugar obtained from beets. Three-dimensional structures from sugar will become the basis for the replication of various tissues and organs, including the most complex in structure.

In the modern methodology of cancer treatment, it is important to be able to target a tumor in advance on patient tissue samples in order to select individual treatment. But in a flat Petri dish does not recreate the volume fragment of the liver or the structure of the intestine, and the function of the organ also depends on the form. We need high-grade three-dimensional copies of living flesh, with identical systems of vessels, nerve bundles, different layers of tissues, etc.

Sugar dissolves easily, and when heated, caramelizes, becomes durable and is therefore suitable for replacing plastic in a 3D printer. In this case, isomalt (the base of the lozenges for the throat), easily and without a trace dissolves and is absorbed by living cells. But not instantly – the printer developed by Bhargava and Gelbert creates a reliable and durable frame on which you can manage to grow live tissues and even copies of entire organs.

The merit of this team is to develop methods for detailed control of sugar printing at all stages, so their 3D printer can print even a skeleton for the network of the thinnest capillaries without risking damaging their structure. At the next stage, scientists want to add mechanisms to control the dissolution of sugar in order to bring their models to a new level. Then you can already talk about trying to print an organ that can “run” and make it work separately from the body.

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