Friday, 16 Sep, 2011 Science
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3D Printing Tech Could Help Build Up Artificial Blood Vessels

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According to a team of researchers from Germany, they are currently working on a 3D printer that could help create artificial blood vessels. The project is entitled BioRap and in the near future it could also be used to print out complex organs.

Scientists at Fraunhofer say that their invention represents a mix of 3D printing technology and multiphoton polymerization. The printer can quickly produce 3D solids from different materials. However, it is still quite inaccurate in manufacturing the fine structures of capillary vessels.

The combination of a 3D printer with two-photon polymerization gave researchers the possibility to create accurate, elastic structures, constructed according to a 3D building plan.

"The individual techniques are already functioning and they are presently working in the test phase; the prototype for the combined system is being built," mentioned project manager Dr Gunter Tovar.

According to Tovar, the technique can be used in a large variety if ways. For example, the invention could help build up artificial organs based on a circulation system. This could be possible thanks to the artificial blood vessels developed using the same technology to supply the organs with nutrients. These organs would be unsuitable for transplantations, but might be used in animal experiments, reports Fraunhofer.

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