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Houston Matters

Houston Researchers Devise A Way To 3D Print Human Tissue

Instead of printing with plastics, Rice University bioengineer Jordan Miller and his colleagues use a water-based solution with human cells.

A penny shown next to a 3D printed scale-model of a lung-mimicking air sac.

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Let's say you needed a new lung, and instead of joining the thousands of people across the country on a donor waiting list, doctors just printed you a new one.

Sounds crazy, right? But that's exactly what a team of researchers including Rice University bioengineer Jordan Miller are working on.

In the audio above, Miller tells Houston Matters' Michael Hagerty how far they've come in their research, recently published in the journal Science.

  • A 3D-printed multivascular hydrogel containing a bioinspired lung mimicking architecture. Vessel diameters are ≥0.3 mm. (Photo Credit: Bagrat Grigoryan and Jordan Miller/Rice Univ.)
    A 3D-printed multivascular hydrogel containing a bioinspired lung mimicking architecture. Vessel diameters are ≥0.3 mm. (Photo Credit: Bagrat Grigoryan and Jordan Miller/Rice Univ.)
  • Rice University bioengineers (from left) Bagrat Grigoryan, Jordan Miller and Daniel Sazer and collaborators created a breakthrough bioprinting technique that could speed development of technology for 3D printing replacement organs and tissues. (Photo Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice Univ.)
    Rice University bioengineers (from left) Bagrat Grigoryan, Jordan Miller and Daniel Sazer and collaborators created a breakthrough bioprinting technique that could speed development of technology for 3D printing replacement organs and tissues. (Photo Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice Univ.)
  • Rice University bioengineering graduate student Bagrat Grigoryan led the development of a new technique for 3D printing tissue with entangled vascular networks similar to the body’s natural passageways for blood, air and other vital fluids. (Photo Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice Univ.)
    Rice University bioengineering graduate student Bagrat Grigoryan led the development of a new technique for 3D printing tissue with entangled vascular networks similar to the body’s natural passageways for blood, air and other vital fluids. (Photo Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice Univ.)
  • Rice University bioengineer Daniel Sazer prepares a scale-model of a lung-mimicking air sac for testing. In experiments, air is pumped into the sac in a pattern that mimics breathing while blood is flowed through a surrounding network of blood vessels to oxygenate human red blood cells. (Photo Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice Univ.)
    Rice University bioengineer Daniel Sazer prepares a scale-model of a lung-mimicking air sac for testing. In experiments, air is pumped into the sac in a pattern that mimics breathing while blood is flowed through a surrounding network of blood vessels to oxygenate human red blood cells. (Photo Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice Univ.)
  • A U.S. one-cent coin shown next to a 3D printed scale-model of a lung-mimicking air sac with airways and blood vessels. (Photo Credit: Dan Sazer and Jordan Miller/Rice Univ.)
    A U.S. one-cent coin shown next to a 3D printed scale-model of a lung-mimicking air sac with airways and blood vessels. (Photo Credit: Dan Sazer and Jordan Miller/Rice Univ.)
  • Jordan Miller is an assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice University.
 (Photo Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice Univ.)
    Jordan Miller is an assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice University. (Photo Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice Univ.)