We’re still a long way off 100% functioning organs created from 3D printers, but a number of research facilities around the world are working hard on that dream. One of those teams is  based in Japan and they are made up of researchers from Saga University and Cyfuse Biomedical. Cyfuse is a company that specializes in regenerative medicine and they have been working with the University to develop arteries using patient’s skin cells and 3D printing.

Saga’s Medical School Faculty of Medicine is currently evaluating transplantation of their 3D printed blood vessels in animals. Human therapy will begin in 2018 after a number of clinical trials are successfully completed. The vessels are and will be used for artificial dialysis and transplantation in coronary artery bypass surgery.

Traditional methods used in dialysis treatment used artificial resin based blood vessels to transport large amounts of blood to the dialysis machine. Saga and Cyfuse’s technique uses the patient’s own cells to do the same job.

The 3D bio-printer used in the process consists of a number of 10mm long by 0.1mm in diameter nozzles. These can then be adjusted to change the thickness and size of the blood vessels. The research team has already managed to print two to three diameter blood vessels in ten days with this technique.