University of Pennsylvania engineers may have found a way to create vascular networks using a 3D printer—an advancement which could speed up the process of creating working lab-grown organs.
Using an open source RepRap 3D printer, the scientists printed a free-standing three dimensional vascular template out of sucrose and glucose filaments. When the sugar solidified, the scientist poured cells suspended in a gel over the filaments and disolved the sugar, leaving a network of hollow tubes which the team then used to pump nutrients to the cells. With such a nutrients-delivery system, cells could potentially stay alive long enough to grow organs large enough to for humans to use.
Between this breakthrough and printing dehydrated food to solve famine, you can see why 3D is being heralded as a global game changer.
(via: ieee Spectrum)