New technique paves the way for instant 3D-printed biological tissues

3D printing technologies have come a long way since their earliest incarnations as rapid product prototype makers. It's now shaping up as the next disruptive technology and in medical science, 3D printing has huge potential. The latest advance comes from University of California, San Diego Nanoengineering Professor Shaochen Chen, whose group has demonstrated the ability to print three-dimensional blood vessels in seconds.

If the technique proves scalable, it could revolutionize regenerative medicine. Imagine being able to recover from a heart attack by replacing your faulty aortic valve with a brand new one, made of your own cells. No more pig valves, no more mechanical solutions, no more waiting for a donor. The donor is you.

How does it work? All printers require feedstock. For 2D printers, that’s ink. For 3D, it can be plastic, some metals – or in this case, biocompatible hydrogels. What’s new here is the adaptation of techniques ideal for printing large objects – such as car parts or tools for the home – to a micro and nano scale, in order to print the tiny veins responsible for shipping oxygen and nutrients around the body.

The new approach, reported in Advanced Materials, is called dynamic optical projection stereolithography (DOPsL). A computer projection system works with tightly controlled micromirrors to beam light onto a selected part of a solution. The solution contains photo-sensitive biological polymers and cells. As the light hits, the polymers harden, one layer at a time, and continuously. The result? Much faster printing. That separates the approach from another medical 3D printing model, the two-photon photopolymerization, which can take hours to fabricate a part.

Comments

you know... all these 'techniques' that could 'pave the way' for being used in something 'greater' down the line... why aren't they being applied NOW in numerous areas wherever possible?
That kind of application would greatly speed things along and serve as a 'transitional' period until the 'greater' thing can be implemented.

Obviously I'm simplifying here, but the principle remains.
:-)

$$$ & how do 'I' make $$$ off it? This system only works (somewhat) because of it's inefficiency. Should we actually cure things, address problems permanently or for long term without consideration planned obsolesce it really does fall apart.

Oh I know how the system works.
:-)
I really don't know why I was even stating my reply in the above manner.
Ah yes... merely to illustrate that a number of these techniques could be implemented NOW to speed things along.

But I realize (sadly) that the people in the monetary system first have to find a cost-effective (cheap) way of doing this... which is why it will be implemented on an industrial scale mostly, and probably reserved for those who can afford it in the first place.

Need I mention just how much I detest the monetary system?

Regardless of the application, our society relies on value not utility. Therefore, the period prior to implementation will depend on the soundness of the technique and the creativity of those powerful value-wielders. If our society cares to re-focus on rapid adaptation and progress, then that is just too damn bad - the paradigm shift is on hold at the moment.

You guys have no idea how prototyping a new product works and the process it takes to enter the market. Please stop pretending you know how the process works in its entirety.

I will acknowledge that one of the reasons why they don't enter the market fast enough is indeed due to $$$ - the inventors having to beg investor funds to create a startup. But if the idea is revolutionary enough it can garner enough support and starting funds. And the big bad corporate bullies aren't the only ones with money. If they can gain support from groups from you zeitgeist folks (like $10 from each one of you guys) their starting cash can run in the millions and have no problems with finance.

But there are other reasons as well. Even though they've gotten the process figured out and working, its implementation could be extremely costly in resource terms and very inefficient. It may take way way too long, too many errors may cause most attempts to end in failure, it may consume too much energy or raw materials, or it requires alot of human brainpower. All of which can drive up costs even in monetary terms as well as increasing the waste generated. The inventors need time and resources (the latter currently denominated in $$$) to refine their invention so it works as efficiently as possible.

Things aren't going to fall into place the way you want it to no matter how much you complain or blame. I want to live in RBE's rather than the current monetary paradigm now too but I realize we don't live in a perfect universe where everyone can have their way instantly.

Its hardly about instant gratification.
Its more down to using new technology as fast as possible wherever applicable in the most efficient manner.
By doing that, you discover immediately potential issues and can work on possible solutions.

Most of the issues you mentioned are currently indeed money related and its the primary reason it won't find its use in the market anytime soon, because the market isn't concerned about technical efficiency, but COST EFFICIENCY (meaning, if its cheap enough in $$$).

Prototyping and perfecting the invention are NOT money issues. Having to figure out how to make a certain invention more reliable, more efficient, more safe, and more durable takes more time and R&D even if you got the process of how the invention works figured out. Delays caused by this will also be present even in society using a RBE model.

I realize that... but the point is that once you have a working prototype, you have the ability to mass produce the thing and use it.

It already works as intended (the article mentions that).
My point is that it could be used wherever possible as it is now and work on perfecting it from practical application (in a controlled capacity) that would rapidly increase the speed to widespread use.
But... immediate use is not possible within a monetary system because the market has to find a cost efficient (cheap from a $$$ point of view) way of using it even in the manner that I describe.

In RBE, since money would NOT be an issue, these technologies and prototypes would be used wherever possible in a controlled manner immediately.

In a current (monetary) system, it will be used only when a CHEAP manner is devised... and they will effectively spend loads of time on waiting... then of course on numerou bureaucratic nonsense, etc.