5/14/15 Bioprinting is not just 3D printing, it is printing with live cells in various constructs. The challenge is keeping the living cells alive throughout the process. As of today we aren’t able to bioprint fully functioning whole organs, but researchers are working on bioprinting things that function in a similar manner.
Ibrahim Ozbolat at the Univ of Iowa has been working on bioprinting perfusable vasculature tissues that allow fluids to circulate through blood vessels, with the goal of “printing” organs. His current project involves the reconstruction of cranial tissue on rats, where the defects are smaller than 6mm in diameter. It starts as a tissue construct that leads to tissue regeneration. Skin, bladder, corneas and cartilage that don’t require significant vascularization are somewhat easy to print, he is able to bioprint small tissue constructs that can be implanted to repair part of a heart or bone. Due to the speed of this fascinating technology, Ozbolat expects to see bioprinters moving into the operating room within the next 2-3 years.
On another front the US army has created AFIRM (Armed Forces of Regenerative Medicine) and has
invested in 3-D bioprinting to treat blog – 051415 bioprintinginjured soldiers. Their research is able to scan the surface of severely burned skin, make a a three dimensional map of the wound and print skin cells onto a patient using a bioprinter. AFIRM’s scientists take healthy cells, load cartidges with two types of cells (similar to loading inkjet printer cartridges, but in this case use deep layer tissue and top layer tissue), then the bioprinter deposits each cell precisely where it is needed and the cells grow to become new skin.
Time and time again we see technology using smaller and smaller components to make leaps and bounds in the medical and pharmaceutical fields. MICRO plays a huge roll in these technology advances.