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Harvard Researchers’ SWIFT Technology May Make 3D Printed Organs

November 20, 2019

Recently, researchers from Harvard’s Wyss Institute have developed a new method of 3D printing human organs. It is said that it may produce 3D printed artificial organs one day in the future. Researchers have invented a new technology, called SWIFT (Sacrificial writing into functional tissue). It allows funneling OBBs (organs building blocks) generating from stem cells into living matrices through 3D printed vessels. It’s a great leap for 3D printed organs.
The technology SWIFT involves two processes. First, make a living matrix of OBBs that has around 200 million cells per milliliter from stem-cell-derived aggregates. Second, embed a vascular network into the matrix. The vascular network is written in by removing a sacrificial link.
Researchers has said that a dense matrix “not only achieve a high cellular density akin to that of human organs, but the matrix’s viscosity also enables printing of a pervasive network of perfusable channels within it to mimic the blood vessels that support human organs.”
The cell aggregates in the SWIFT technology are sourced from adult induced pluripotent stem cells. At 0 to 4 degree celsius, the dense matrix is like mayonnaise. It’s thick enough to keep the shape and soft enough to handle without hurting the cells. It’s great for printing sacrificed links. Heated to 37 degrees, the dense matrix solidifies but the gelation ink melts at this temperature and can be washed out. Thus, a vascular network is built into the constructed tissue and further can be perfused with oxygenated media to nourish the cells. The team can use SWIFT to print organ-specific tissues. Those tissues can grow over 12 hours in contrast to tissue in other methods that experienced cell deaths within 12 hours. Researchers fused heart-derived cells and flowed media through the channels for a week. Then the OBBs’ get a stronger and synchronous contraction, just like a human heart.