Researchers at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University have succeeded in using inkjet printers to create these artificial veins and capillaries, the Nikkei reports.
A specially-designed inkjet printer which was manufactured at the Kanagawa Academy of Science and Technology is used to inject a mixture of artificial cells and medical gel into calcium chloride.
After this occurs, the gel turns into a solid with an inner coating of endothelial cells, as well as an outer shell of smooth muscle cells.
Scientists believe that the printers could be used in the future to produce sheets of cells that can be used to make whole organs.
In addition to this latest breakthrough, printers are widely used in a medical capacity.
Sony, for example, makes a line of colour printers for the medical market; the UP-D77MD is engineered for nuclear medicine, while the UP-D75MD is a less expensive USB-only printer which is designed for patient records or referral prints.
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