picture of Lena Thiebes


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3D printed rings and tracheal bifurcations Copyright: BioTex 3D printed rings and tracheal bifurcations

3D-Printing Technologies allow a rapid additive production with high spatial resolution and complexity. In the field of Tissue Engineering, 3D-printing enables production of artificial organs with the complexity and structure of natural organs. The human windpipe for example consists of different cell types and functional tissues as connective and smooth muscle tissue as well as cartilage.

In the TracheaPrint-project we are working on the development of a 3D-printed trachea with vasculature. This allows a faster connection to the patients’ cardiovascular system and ensure nutrition of the tissue. Patient derived cells align to artificially produced blood vessels, whereby endothelial cells form blood vessel and supportive cells like fibroblasts assume mechanical stability of those vessels. Besides, an intact epithelium covering the lumen of the windpipe is crucial for long-term functionality. Fine cilia transport mucus or foreign bodies out of the lung through the windpipe. Furthermore, natural mechanisms as coughing and swallowing, or movements of the head must be compensated by the 3D-printed scaffold material to avoid collapse or damage of the tissue-engineered windpipe construct.


  • Dental Materials and Biomaterials Research, RWTH Aachen University Hospital


  • German Research Foundation