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Video: 3D Printer Cooks Up Blood Vessels
7/17/2012

Bioengineers from the University of Pennsylvania are advancing the process of building lab-grown human organs by using the RepRap 3D printer to make templates of blood vessel networks out of sugar. (Source: University of Pennsylvania)
Bioengineers from the University of Pennsylvania are advancing the process of building lab-grown human organs by using the RepRap 3D printer to make templates of blood vessel networks out of sugar.
(Source: University of Pennsylvania)

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Rob Spiegel
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Finally, a good use for sugar
Rob Spiegel   7/17/2012 10:30:15 AM
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This is really "out there" technology. And a fascinating video. I would guess that in the medical research setting, the cost of 3D printing is negligible, unlike in manufacturing.

Dave Palmer
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Amazing
Dave Palmer   7/17/2012 11:24:01 AM
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I'm in awe of this work.  The idea of made-to-order organs is fascinating.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Finally, a good use for sugar
Beth Stackpole   7/17/2012 11:30:32 AM
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It is pretty awe inspiring, Dave. As for cost, this particular research initiative is based on the RepRap open source printer so I'm thinking costs are minimal. I can't imagine a commercial 3D printer being capable of this specialized type of work, any way.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Finally, a good use for sugar
Rob Spiegel   7/17/2012 12:51:37 PM
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Given the slide show with all of the different applications of 3D printing in medical research, I get the impression 3D printing is well established in the medical world. Or, is this an entirely new field that is simply moving very quickly?

Charles Murray
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Re: Finally, a good use for sugar
Charles Murray   7/17/2012 2:42:16 PM
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Wow, this is amazing. How hard are these vessels and are they elastic?

Charles Murray
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Re: Finally, a good use for sugar
Charles Murray   7/17/2012 6:30:48 PM
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Inventor Raymond Kurzweil has reportedly said that he foresees a day when we will be able to replace and repair any body part that wears out. Seems like this technology gives us a good headstart.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Finally, a good use for sugar
Beth Stackpole   7/18/2012 8:45:53 AM
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From what I can gather, 3D printing has been applied quite a bit in the medical field for some time, particularly in the area of dentistry for quick output of custom molds as well as in the area of hearing aids. What's newer is the idea of applying 3D printing techniques to actually produce live tissue. This is an experiment along those lines and just a first start in terms of producing blood vessels that are durable and elastic enough for human use.

William K.
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Printing up circulatory systems.
William K.   7/18/2012 10:39:26 PM
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This is an incredible development. Aside from the great ability to produce the structurs, using sugar is good because it does not pollute. Also, it is probably the cheapest 3D printing material that there is. 

So I salute the inventors. This invention has a great future.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Printing up circulatory systems.
Ann R. Thryft   7/24/2012 1:20:50 PM
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Beth, this is mind-boggling. Thanks for reporting on it.

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