rapid prototyping medicine




Rapid Prototyping Breakthrough: Living Tissue Structures


The process of 3D printing or rapid prototyping is a hyped process that continues to produce unheard of innovations and inventions. The outstanding revolutions we have watched over the years has showed to us that rapid prototyping services have huge potential in changing the dynamics of the world.


3D Bio Printer Printing Living Tissue 

One of the most recent developments in the world of rapid prototyping has been the new 3D bio printer, which can print living tissue structures! These structures can one day be utilized to replace diseased or injured tissue in needy patients.


According to a statement made by the head of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Anothony Atala, who also co-authored a research describing the new printer, along with further development, this printer could be possibly used to print living organ and tissue structures that can be used during surgical implantations.



3D Printed Tissue Structures

3D-printed jaw bone structure: The jaw bone fragment which was printed using the new bio printer is also phenomenal. The shape and size of the fragment stands parallel to the shape and size of fragments that could be utilized for jaw reenactment in human patients during surgeries. This can prove to be a huge step forward in the medical field considering the number of jaw related injuries or accidents that are reported on a daily basis.

In order to form the new jaw bone structure, the new printer bonds together plastic-like materials and then layers them in order to come up with the shape of the tissue as well as the water-based gels which carry cells. This process permits the printed tissue to keep its shape and warranties that the printing process will not damage or impair the cells while completing the whole process. This is due to the advanced nature of the process. Normally, in the past such processes could not be undertaken due to the risks involved, especially in terms of safety and retaining originality, something patients prioritize.

rapid prototyping ear


The ear structure: researchers have implanted the created ear structure under the skin of mice in order to test our whether or not the structure tissue would subsist. To their surprise, they found out that the structures did endure. They even advanced to develop blood vessels after two months of being implanted. This developed due to the distinctive micro channels that are found printed through the structures.

Tailor-made tissue: The best part of these aforementioned structures is the fact that these printers can customize them for patients.  Yep, you can have your very own unique 3D-printed jaw bone, ear or other tissue structures tailor made. The new printing technique can in fact use data from MRI and CT scans to tailor-make tissue; this tissue can be used by needy or interested patients to create organs or body parts. For example, if a patient lost a part of their face such as a ear, cheek bone or jaw bone, the printer could be used to print a new similar ear, cheek or jaw structure founded on a scan of the intact body part. This is huge news for doctors and patients who may have been waiting for years to get their needed body parts. Many may even choose to opt for such procedures over plastic surgery.


Qualities of the New Printers

Compared to bio printers that have been used in the past, the new bio printer lets researchers print organ and structures that are stronger and larger than the comparatively fragile and simple tissues that academics and researchers have come up with before. Due to the printer’s ability to print such stronger structures, researchers have dared to test out newer structures and continue in their pursuit to find even greater structures that can be printed and tested on. In the future, they may go for larger body parts that require huge amounts of tissue and organ.


It is not possible to say just how far 3D printing will take the medical field. We have already seen the making of prosthetics using rapid prototyping services on the rise. Most western countries have been using this method to make body parts in recent years. Countries such as China are still debating the ethical side of using body parts but are nevertheless considering it as an option due to the benefits associated with it in the long run. With the advent of body parts, especially those related to the face, bio printing is likely to continue to gain fans worldwide. Once again, it is clear how much promise exists with this technology and at the same time it’s evident how some ethical and legal issues need to be explored too. For example, think of the IP issues that will someday develop when say someone wants a 3d printed Tom Brady chin or Brad Pitt face. It will be interesting to see how that plays out!


Work in Progress

So far, researchers and academics alike have been able to embed and implant some of the bone and tissue structures that they have transformed into rodents. A lot more research is required before the structures that have been tested on and used can be actually implanted in human patients. However, considering all the facts and stakes at hand, the day in which human beings will be benefitting from these implants doesn’t seem to be too far off.



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