Researchers grow cells in 'paper organs'

May 01, 2019

Long before scientists test new medicines in animals or people, they study the effects of the substances on cells growing in Petri dishes. However, a 2D layer of cells is a poor substitute for the much more complex 3D structure of tissues in organs. Now, researchers reporting in the ACS journal Nano Letters have used a 3D printer to make paper organs, complete with artificial blood vessels, that they can populate with cells.

In the body, tissues with similar functions are grouped together in organs, such as the brain, heart or stomach. Organs also contain supporting cells, including nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues. An organ's 3D architecture provides biological, structural and mechanical support to cells that influences how they grow and respond to external stimuli, such as medicines. Yu Shrike Zhang and colleagues wanted to see whether they could combine 3D printing and bacterial cellulose to make supports for artificial organs that they could then fill with cells. Cellulose, a polysaccharide made by plants, algae and some bacteria, is a low-cost material used to make paper.

To create a breast tumor model, the researchers 3D printed petroleum jelly-paraffin ink into a bacterial cellulose hydrogel. Then, they air-dried the hydrogel so that it became porous and paper-like. When they heated the ink, it liquefied and was easy to remove, leaving behind hollow microchannels. The team wet the paper "organ" and added endothelial cells -- the cell type that lines blood vessels -- to the microchannels, and added breast cancer cells to the rest of the structure. Dried paper organs can be stored for long periods of time and then rehydrated to produce inexpensive tissue models, which could be useful for drug screening and personalized medicine, the researchers say.
-end-
The authors acknowledge funding from the National Institutes of Health, the New England Anti-Vivisection Society and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

The abstract that accompanies this study is available here.

The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

Follow us on Twitter | Facebook 

American Chemical Society

Related Blood Vessels Articles from Brightsurf:

Biofriendly protocells pump up blood vessels
In a new study published today in Nature Chemistry, Professor Stephen Mann and Dr Mei Li from Bristol's School of Chemistry, together with Associate Professor Jianbo Liu and colleagues at Hunan University and Central South University in China, prepared synthetic protocells coated in red blood cell fragments for use as nitric oxide generating bio-bots within blood vessels.

Specific and rapid expansion of blood vessels
Upon a heart infarct or stroke, rapid restoration of blood flow, and oxygen delivery to the hypo perfused regions is of eminent importance to prevent further damage to heart or brain.

Flexible and biodegradable electronic blood vessels
Researchers in China and Switzerland have developed electronic blood vessels that can be actively tuned to address subtle changes in the body after implantation.

Lumpy proteins stiffen blood vessels of the brain
Deposits of a protein called ''Medin'', which manifest in virtually all older adults, reduce the elasticity of blood vessels during aging and hence may be a risk factor for vascular dementia.

Cancer cells take over blood vessels to spread
In laboratory studies, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and Johns Hopkins University researchers observed a key step in how cancer cells may spread from a primary tumor to a distant site within the body, a process known as metastasis.

Novel function of platelets in tumor blood vessels found
Scientists at Uppsala University have discovered a hitherto unknown function of blood platelets in cancer.

Blood vessels can make you fat, and yet fit
IBS scientists have reported Angiopoietin-2 (Angpt2) as a key driver that inhibits the accumulation of potbellies by enabling the proper transport of fatty acid into general circulation in blood vessels, thus preventing insulin resistance.

Brothers in arms: The brain and its blood vessels
The brain and its surrounding blood vessels exist in a close relationship.

Feeling the pressure: How blood vessels sense their environment
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba discovered that Thbs1 is a key extracellular mediator of mechanotransduction upon mechanical stress.

Human textiles to repair blood vessels
As the leading cause of mortality worldwide, cardiovascular diseases claim over 17 million lives each year, according to World Health Organization estimates.

Read More: Blood Vessels News and Blood Vessels Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.