3D Printing

New bio-ink could be used to 3D-print body parts inside the patient

New bio-ink could be used to 3...
A three-dimensional lattice-like structure, printed directly onto living tissue using the new bio-ink
A three-dimensional lattice-like structure, printed directly onto living tissue using the new bio-ink
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A three-dimensional lattice-like structure, printed directly onto living tissue using the new bio-ink
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A three-dimensional lattice-like structure, printed directly onto living tissue using the new bio-ink

Although we're hearing more about the prospect of 3D-printed replacement body parts, those parts need to be implanted via relatively large incisions. That may not always be the case, however, thanks to a new "bio-ink" that could allow parts to be printed within the body.

First of all, other types of bio-inks do already exist. They're generally a liquid containing living cells, a framework material, and growth factors that prompt the cells to reproduce within that framework material, gradually changing it over to pure biological tissue.

Such bio-inks are extruded from the nozzle of a 3D printer, building up body parts outside of the body, layer by layer. In many cases, they're cured into a solid material via exposure to ultraviolet light. Unfortunately, though, UV rays would be harmful to the patient's own tissue if administered inside the body.

That's where the new bio-ink comes in. It was developed through a collaboration between scientists from the California-based Teraski Institute, Ohio State University, and Pennsylvania State University.

The fluid is dispensed from the fine tip of a robotically-controlled nozzle, that is surgically inserted into the patient's body through a small incision. In order to hold each strand of the bio-ink in place, the nozzle punctures a small void in the patient's soft internal tissue, then deposits an anchoring blob of the fluid within that space. As the nozzle is subsequently withdrawn, it places another blob on the outside of that tissue, serving as an additional anchor. The rest of the strand is then drawn over to another anchoring point.

Importantly, the bio-ink can be internally applied at normal body temperature, and cured into a solid using a non-UV visible light source.

Although the substance may someday be used to build parts such as blood vessels or spinal discs, it is hoped that some of its more immediate uses may include the application of patches on damaged or defective organs, or the creation of hernia repair meshes.

The research is described in a paper that was recently published in the journal Biofabrication.

Source: Teraski Institute

2 comments
Techrex
?? If they CAN 3D print human organs, but they are all too SMALL to be used for human organ transplants, what if there is a TRICK we can do to use them anyway? DARPA, the science research branch of the USA's military departments, did extensive research on the effects of atomic bomb explosions various radiations on living things. They found that SMALL dosages of gamma rays, makes trees, vegetables, fungi, and cockroaches
Techrex
(Continued!) GROW EXPLOSIVELY over night. This DARPA research was inspired by a curious phenomena at the outer perimeters of the atomic bomb blasts site in Japan in WWII. The relatively SMALL exposures to gamma rays, made these thing grow VERY fast like that. There were giant mushrooms (fungi) everywhere, and all of the vegetable gardens around these perimeters grew enormously overnight. Yes, all the people around this were DYING, but they were eating their vitamins! So, what if we 3D printed these small human organs using stem cells from the transplant patients that need them, and treat them with Gamma rays, and then implant them inside of their bodies. In that biological venue, the organs should GROW EXPLOSIVELY to full size and functionality. We already have the software and hardware to do this this very exact Gamma ray treatment, with the 'Cyber-Knife' or 'Gamma Ray Knife' machine, that brain surgeons use to destroy deep seated, inoperable brain tumors, without any cutting surgery. Also, why not try treating SCIs (Spinal Cord Injuries) and TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries) with the same thing? It might make the patients suffering from those things have their damaged neural tissue regenerate and restore at least some mobility and brain recovery in them. That covers it.