Among recent 3D printing news comes a new medical breakthrough from UC San Diego, where nanoengineers have created a 3D printed “liver” that works as a sort of filter, removing toxins from an ill person’s blood stream using nanoparticles.
The 3D-printed device — visible on the display in the image above — was inspired by the liver, and works using nanoparticles to snare toxins in the blood that can result from various injuries and illnesses. The nanoparticles are contained in a hydrogel matrix, which is the device that is 3D printed.
The 3D-printed component is an important breakthrough, allowing the nanoparticles to filter the toxins (something that has been found as effective in the past), but without the risk of collecting in the liver, causing their own form of toxicity.
The device is external, and turns a shade of red upon capturing the toxins. The hydrogel is biocompatible, and paves the way for 3D printing products specifically for the site or person who needs it. The lab has previously 3D printed things like blood vessels from hydrogels.