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Israeli breakthrough: Printing Blood Vessel Networks for Implantation

For the first time, Technion scientists succeeded in constructing a network of major and small blood arteries, crucial for giving blood to implanted tissue

Printing Blood Vessel Networks for Implantation L-R Dr. Ariel Alejandro Szklanny and Professor Shulamit Levenberg  Technion
Printing Blood Vessel Networks for Implantation L-R Dr. Ariel Alejandro Szklanny and Professor Shulamit Levenberg / Technion

Researchers lead by Technion Professor Shulamit Levenberg, who specialises in tissue engineering, have succeeded in establishing a hierarchical blood artery network, crucial for giving blood to implanted tissue. In the research published in Advanced Materials, Dr. Ariel Alejandro Szklanny employed 3D printing for constructing huge and small blood arteries to form for the first time a system that comprised a functioning combination of both. The breakthrough took accomplished in Prof. Levenberg’s Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering Laboratory in the Technion’s Faculty of Biomedical Engineering.

The heart pumps blood into the aorta, which branches out into progressively smaller blood arteries, bringing oxygen and nutrients to all the tissues and organs. Transplanted tissues, as well as tissues created for transplantation, require similar blood vascular support.

Printing Blood Vessel Networks for Implantation
Printing Blood Vessel Networks for Implantation

Previous experiments with synthetic tissue containing hierarchical vessel networks have involved an intermediary step of transplanting first into a healthy limb, enabling it to be infiltrated by the host’s blood vessels, and then transferring the structure into the damaged location.

Notably, whereas prior studies employed animal collagen to create the scaffolds, the Israeli company CollPlant modified tobacco plants to make human collagen, which was successfully used for 3D bioprinting the vascularized tissue structures.

This study is a significant step forward in the direction of individualized medicine. Large blood vessels with the precise shape required can be manufactured and inserted alongside the tissue to be implanted. This tissue can be created using the patient’s own cells, hence avoiding the possibility of rejection.

Notably, whereas prior studies employed animal collagen to create the scaffolds, the Israeli company CollPlant modified tobacco plants to make human collagen, which was successfully used for 3D bioprinting the vascularized tissue structures.

This study is a significant step forward in the direction of individualized medicine. Large blood vessels with the precise shape required can be manufactured and inserted alongside the tissue to be implanted. This tissue can be created using the patient’s own cells, hence avoiding the possibility of rejection.

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