been around in Vincent van Gogh's day, he would have had to do
something more dramatic to express his inner torment than cutting off
his ear – American startup BioBots has been demonstrating that he could
have easily just 3D-printed a new one.
As part of its ongoing effort to eschew animal testing of its products, L'Oréal has teamed up with bioprinting company Organovo to develop 3D-printed skin tissue for that very purpose.
When we hear about projects that may someday make it possible to create internal organs on demand, they usually incorporate 3D bioprinting
. This typically involves depositing successive layers of cell-seeded material one on top of another, to form the finished organ. While the technology definitely holds a lot of promise, a device known as the BioP3 could give it a run for its money.
When a medication enters the bloodstream, it ends up being concentrated in the liver – after all, one of the organ's main functions is to cleanse the blood. This means that if a drug is going to have an adverse effect on any part of the body, chances are it will be the liver. It would seem to follow, therefore, that if a pharmaceutical company wanted to test the safety of its products, it would be nice to have some miniature human livers on which to experiment – which is just what San Diego-based biotech firm Organovo
is about to start selling.
3D bioprinting experts at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine are examining techniques that print stem cells into robust scaffolding structures directly at the site of cartilage damage, in an effort to repair damaged cartilage and prevent osteoarthritis.
Back in 2009, we heard about a 3D bio-printer
that had been developed through a collaboration between Australian engineering firm Invetech, and Organovo, a San Diego-based regenerative medicine company. The device incorporates two print heads – one for placing human cells, and the other for placing a hydrogel, scaffold, or support matrix. At the time, the hope was that the printer could someday be used to create organs for transplant purposes. This week, Organovo announced that it has succeeded in using the device to create three-dimensional functioning human livers – albeit tiny ones.
Already revolutionizing manufacturing, 3D printing technology also promises to revolutionize the field of biotechnology
. While scientists have previously had success in 3D printing a range of human stem cell cultures developed from bone marrow or skin cells, a team from Scotland's Heriot-Watt University claims to be the first to print the more delicate, yet more flexible, human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). As well as allowing the use of stem cells grown from established cell lines, the technology could enable the creation of improved human tissue models for drug testing and potentially even purpose-built replacement organs.
Generally speaking, injured cartilage doesn’t heal well ... if at all. In recent years, however, scientists have successfully regrown cartilage at injury sites, using things like hydrogel
and collagen-based nano-scaffolding
. Now, a team of scientists led by Prof. James Yu of North Carolina's Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine have developed something else – a 3D printer that creates implantable cartilage.
According to many people, meat and leather are an ethical and environmental nightmare, causing misery to billions of animals and wreaking havoc on the planet’s ecosystems. While mankind may not turn entirely vegan in the next generation, a more humane and cleaner type of leather could become available in the near future (and meat a few years later) thanks to the development of an in-vitro version of the material being developed by Modern Meadow.