Artificial liver uses 3-D modeling
April 25, 2002 | Source: KurzweilAI
Researchers believe they have solved the problem of growing the complex networks of blood vessels that artificial organs would need to sustain themselves within the body.
The idea, so far tested in rats, involves copying the blood vessel network of a real liver and using 3D fractal computer modelling and machining to mimic its construction.
The scinentists use the model to construct a silicon-mould scaffold. They then pump a solution of endothelial cells into empty channels in the scaffold, where they stick to the walls and grow in a nutrient to form a network of blood vessels within the scaffold, which itself dissolves over a few months, leaving behind a functioning liver.
The researchers are Jay Vacanti at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a transplant surgeon who grew a human ear from cartilage cells on the back of a mouse in 1997, and Jeffrey Borenstein at Draper Lab, a micro-engineering expert.