3D printers are devices that produce three-dimensional, physical objects based on a computer model. Using various 3D printers we can make plastic products, items from melting materials (such as chocolate or metal), prototypes and other concept products. Currently, scientists are only a few steps away from printing organs with 3D printers, which will be helpful in the treatment of injuries and diseases.
3D Bioprinter is referred to as organ printer because of the use of 3D technology, which allows creating objects only on the basis of a model that is saved in a computer program. By choosing the right material that will serve as the ink, you can print almost any item. The first printer of this type already exists.
Employees of the biomedical company Invetech are its creators. Then the 3D printer was delivered to Ogranovo, a company that is currently a pioneer in the field of bioprinting technology. This printer at the current stage of development is already able to “print” arteries and cartilages, and according to the experts’ projections, bypasses “printed” on bioprinters can be implanted in patients in five years.
A little longer, for about ten years, we will have to wait for other, much more complex structures and organs (heart, liver, bones). The printer is equipped with two heads, whose role is to put target cells in the right place and to implement supporting material. This material can be collagen as well as growth factor or hydrogel. This printer is characterized by incredible precision reaching up to micrometers, and with the custom software, “printed” tissues or organs have exactly the parameters that were expected.
Bioprinting is an alternative to traditional tissue engineering, especially when the latter fails. The creation of complex three-dimensional structures remains the biggest challenge. For example, blood vessels consist of Several types of closely connected cells.
Previous breeding attempts have led to the formation of short and easily bursting arteries. With the bioprinters, it will be possible to create arteries with much greater strength than natural ones by strengthening their walls with Synthetic additives. Experts from the Carnegie Mellon University are working on stem cells placed in specially composed solutions that determine which tissues these cells will turn into.
The printer applies protein nutrients, then the substances necessary for stem cell differentiation and finally the cells themselves. It’s similar to putting ink on paper. Depending on what substances are on this section of the platelet, the cells divide into different lines.
Another potential application is regenerative medicine: replacing damaged human lymph nodes. Replacing the lymph nodes that are affected by cancer can help stop the spread of cancer in the body and alleviate the pain experienced by patients. Way before the feasibility study, it was clear how important it was to develop a new, reliable and Predictive cancer research system, however, after discussions with large pharmaceutical companies that are developing new drugs and with doctors testing new ways of treating cancer, it turned out how big the market demand was and how extensive the possibilities were.
Currently, project developers are testing the reliability of the printed lymph node in other preclinical models to test the effectiveness of new drugs. Then the production process will be industrialized in order to significantly lower the price and be able to manufacture on a large scale.