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Penn researchers improve living tissues with 3-D printed vascular networks made from sugar
Date:7/1/2012

sues in principle, but they would need to have an expert in house and highly specialized equipment to even attempt it," Miller said. "That's no longer the case; we've made these sugar-based vascular templates stable enough to ship to labs around the world."

Beyond integrating well with the world of tissue engineering, the researchers' work epitomizes the philosophy that drives much of the open source 3D printing community.

"We launched this project from innovations rooted in RepRap and MakerBot technology and their supporting worldwide communities," Miller said. "A RepRap 3D printer is a tiny fraction of the cost of commercial 3D printers, and, more important, its open-source nature means you can freely modify it. Many of our additions to the project are already in the wild."

Several of the custom parts of the RepRap printer the researchers used to make the vascular templates were printed in plastic on another RepRap. Miller will teach a class on building and using these types of printers at a workshop this summer and will continue tinkering with his own designs.

"We want to redesign the printer from scratch and focus it entirely on cell biology, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications," Miller said.


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Contact: Evan Lerner
elerner@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert  

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