A group of scientists has managed to create a 3D bioprinter that is capable of creating items such as bone, muscle and cartilage that will subsequently be used for transplantation. The group that has already created an ear using the new material is currently testing the technique in lab animals and plans on carrying out tests on humans in the near future.
The research results have been published in Nature Biotechnology and the organs that have been printed by the new machine are basically ‘alive’ to put it in a crude way. These structures are special structures that are porous and allow the growth of human cells around them and facilitate connections. The materials feature microchannels that serve as capillary bed and enable the living tissue of the body to shape around it and thus, form a new structure.
Anthony Atala from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine said, “It can fabricate stable, human-scale tissue of any shape. With further development, this technology could potentially be used to print living tissue and organ structures for surgical implantation.”
The biological molds that have been created rely on the information that is obtained via MRI and CT scans. The group has also managed to create a segment of the jaw using this technique. The plastic used slowly disintegrates leaving the living cell behind to connect to already existing human body tissue. This means that we can 3D print body parts and have them transplanted and they would become a functional member of the recipient.