Scientists were able to innovate a new protein material able to self-assemble with high-tech graphene-oxide that can be used as a bioink to print blood vessels in a three-dimension printer.
According to “Nature Communications” magazine, scientists from USA, Italy, Spain and Ukraine have invented a method of printing tubular 3D structures that have living vascular tissues’ characteristics. This new used biomaterial is produced by self-assembling of protein with graphene-oxide.
“This study opens the door for creating a biotechnology that combines the 3D printer with self-assembling of synthetic and vital components of Nano molecules that can withstand blood flow” says Alpharo Mata, head of the research team in Nottingham University Self-assembly is the process in which organic molecules combine into larger well-organized structures, similar to molecular building blocks that grow, replicate, and perform some functions.
Through controlling the self-assembling of protein with the graphene-oxide, researchers were able to guide the assembly of the protein into the graphene structure, to form robust structures.
By combining different proportions of these structures, researchers had a flexible biomaterial that can be used as a bioink for 3D printing of structures with intricate geometries and resolutions down to 10 mm.
According to researchers, the new material provides unique possibilities in biotechnology field, especially in producing vascular-like structures, elastic on a small scale, exhibiting biologically relevant chemical and mechanical properties needed in blood vessels and completely compatible with human cells.
Based on these results, scientists plan to build an artificial vessels network to test the drugs intended to treat cardiovascular failure.