Bioprinting And The Future Of 3D Printing, Part 2

April 18, 2017

 

 

 

At Nano3Dprint, our passion is to connect those looking for electronic printing and 3D rapid prototyping functionality with the ability to bring their ideas to life. We do not exaggerate when we say that our groundbreaking 3D printing rapid prototyping technology is quickly transforming the field of printable electronics. But 3D printing of all kinds excites us, and with that in mind we thought we would share a bit of industry knowledge. Welcome to part two of our two-part series on bioprinting and its future uses and applications.

 

In our previous post, we defined bioprinting for our readers, which included the materials, processes, and methods that encompass this revolutionary 3D printing technique. In today’s post, we have the opportunity to continue to explore the world of bioprinting. Today’s piece will feature a more in-depth look (yet far from exhaustive we will warrant) at applications within bioprinting.

 

Each of the 3D bioprinting methods discussed in our previous post (extrusion, laser, microvalves, inkjet, and tissue fragment) have their pros and cons. And like we mentioned before, we could allocate each bioprinting method with its own post there is so much to say (say, that gives us an idea). But for the purposes of this series, let us say that some generalizations can be made about bioprinting techniques. Namely, researchers have been using scanners and 3D printers that have typically been employed to produce cars, model buildings, and prototype products, and are applying them to create real life human tissue. Let’s take a brief look at what some of the various research projects have been focused on all around the world.

 

Bone

Bone grafts are required by more than two million people across the world each year. The traditional method employed is to utilize a synthetic material in tandem with a subject’s bone. This method is lacking in that it fails to accurately imitate the naturally occurring bone and cartilage format. A second issue is that the synthetic material doesn’t allow for the growth and development of new tissue.

 

Swansea University

A research team from Wales has developed a solution that addresses the weaknesses in modern bone grafting. They’ve developed a method of 3D bioprinting that deposits an artificial bone matrix to replicate the exact shape of a given bone. The structure is designed to facilitate the regeneration of actual bone tissue by creating a structure for osteocyte cells to attach themselves to. It’s an ingenious approach to provide an environment for cell generation to flourish, essentially replicating the body’s natural processes. The research team out of Swansea discovered the importance of having the capacity to replicate the exact shape of a bone. The end result is implanted in the body of the subject. In around three months the “scaffolding” will disappear and only the newly grown bone will remain. Although still experimental at this stage, this 3D printing technique could revolutionize a field of medicine in dire need of improvement.

 

Internal Organs

Imagine a world that someone could get a freshly printed 3D heart transplant. Well, print this post out, put it in a time capsule, bury it, and dig it up in 10 years, and poof! Your dream is a reality. Researchers estimate that we are a minimum of ten years away from being able to bioprint fully functional complex internal organs like a heart or a ki