At the moment, Organovo is synonymous with bioprinting in the 3D printing world. The San Diego–based company will begin selling its printed, living liver tissue later this year to the pharmaceutical industry, which can use it to test new drugs.
But other institutions are hot on Organovo’s trail. Scientists at the Harvard Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering announced Wednesday that they have successfully printed multiple types of cells and blood vessels, a combination that is necessary to create more complex tissue. They published their work in Advanced Materials (subscription required). A visual walkthrough of their method is available here.
“Tissue engineers have been waiting for a method like this,” Wyss Institute founding director Don Ingber said in a release. “The ability to form functional vascular networks in 3D tissues before they are implanted not only enables thicker tissues to be formed, it also raises the possibility of surgically connecting these networks” to the human body.