5-speed listening (Bio-printing - Level 5)

Breakthrough in bio-printing of new body organs






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Scientists have advanced the possibility of reproducing the body's organs via the use of 3D printing. Scientists could replace organs by using a new bio-printing technique. This allows scientists to create networks of thin tubes, like those used in our body for the flow of blood and air. These are called vascular networks. A bio-engineering professor explained why the breakthrough was important. He said: "One of the biggest roadblocks to generating functional tissue replacements has been our inability to print the complex [vascular networks] that can supply nutrients to densely populated tissues."

Another professor wrote about the difficulties scientists had in recreating vascular networks. She said: "Tissue engineering has struggled with this for a generation." She thinks the breakthrough will allow medicine to change in the future. She asked: "If we can print tissues that look and now even breathe more like the healthy tissues in our bodies, will they also then functionally behave more like those tissues?" She added that how well bio-printed tissue functions will affect how successful it will be as a therapy. Scientists hope this method will help millions waiting for organ transplants.

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