All 3D printed innovations have something in common: they are only producing inorganic, plastic-based material. What about organic materials, such as human organs? Wouldn’t it be great if new organs could be printed out and used in surgical operations to save people’s lives? (Video)
Artificial blood vessels.
3D bioprinting has made new headway recently in fabricating blood vessels. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have developed a method for 3D printing biological material using magnetically controlled robots.
Using 3D printing, researchers can create scaffolds to repair/replace bone tissue.
A new technique that involves 3D printing a tissue using living stem cells could repair damaged bones. For example, if a child had a jawbone defect, you could take an image of the defect, feed it into a computer and print a replacement to precisely fill the defect using the patient’s own cells, said Kevin Shakeshaff, a pharmacist at the University of Nottingham in England.
A DIY bioprinter
3D printers have been used to print iPhone cases, gun parts, even chocolate candies. Now biohackers, a group that meets at BioCurious, a community biology laboratory in Sunnyvale, California, has created a do-it-yourself inkjet printer that can print living cells. (Video)
Do you need an artery for bypass surgery or custom cartilage for that worn-out knee? One day you will be able to print an artery.
Biomedical engineers in about a dozen major university and corporate laboratories are working on ways to print living human tissue. There is the hope of one day producing personalized body parts and implants on demand. Still far from clinical use, these tissue-engineering experiments represent the next step in a process known as computerized adaptive manufacturing, in which industrial designers turn out custom prototypes and finished parts using inexpensive 3-D computer printers.
The technology is the same as that of the simple inkjet printer found in homes and offices, but Japanese scientist Makoto Nakamura is on a mission to see if it can also produce human organs.