A new material could allow the realization, through 3D printing, of artificial tissues more similar to human vascular structures according to what is read in a press release referring to a new study published in Nature Communications. Researchers from the University of Nottingham and Queen Mary University of London have in fact discovered a method to 3D print graphene oxide using a protein which can organize itself into tubular structures which seem to replicate, more or less faithfully, several important properties of the same vascular tissue.
Professor Alvaro Mata explains the results of the study: “This work offers biofabrication opportunities by enabling simulated top-down 3D bioprinting and bottom-up self-assembly of synthetic and biological components in an orderly manner nanoscale. We are biofabricating micro-scale capillaries that, like the fluid structures compatible with cells, exhibit physiologically relevant properties and have the ability to resist flow. This could allow re-creation of vascularity in the laboratory and could have implications for the development of safer and more efficient drugs, which means that treatments could potentially reach patients much more quickly.
By controlling the ways in which graphene oxide binds to the protein, this assembly can be guided on very small scales to print structures with very complex geometries and with a resolution of up to 10 um. A nice step towards the replication in the laboratory of very important areas of human tissues and organs in general, as suggested by Yuanhao Wu, principal researcher of the study.