The 3D printed liver mimicking
device completely neutralizes toxins in the blood (Image: UC San Diego)
Designed to be used outside the body, the device can sense, attract and
neutralize toxins within the bloodstream. Nanoengineering Professor Shaochen
Chen whose earlier work includes 3D printed blood vessels, created the
liver-inspired device to capture pore-forming toxins capable of damaging cell
Though scientists have successfully used nanoparticles to neutralize toxins in
blood, patients who use this treatment, run the risk of secondary poisoning if
they are unable to effectively digest the nanoparticles and have them accumulate
in the liver instead.
3D-printed a hydrogel matrix, encasing the nanoparticles to create a device
capable of attracting and capturing toxins within itself. Equipped with a
surface area that's larger than that of a human liver, the research team
reported that the device completely neutralized toxins routed from the blood in
an in vitro study.
concept of using 3D printing to encapsulate functional nanoparticles in a
biocompatible hydrogel is novel," says Chen. "This will inspire many new designs
for detoxification techniques since 3D printing allows user-specific or
site-specific manufacturing of highly functional products."
device also changes color when it captures the toxins, turning red in the
process. Chen is currently developing a special biofabrication technology called
dynamic optical projection stereolithography (DOPsL) to 3D print the
research was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.
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