Saturday, December 27, 2014

3D organ models and their application in Biotech industry

3D printing is currently the main innovation driver in many areas such as manufacturing, art, engineering, medicine and education. Due to the recent advances in this area it became possible to combine biocompatible materials, cells and supporting components into complex 3D functional living tissues. Today 3D bioprinting is being applied to regenerative medicine in order to supply for the need of tissues and organs suitable for transplantation. However in comparison to non-biological printing 3D bioprinting includes additional challenges such as the choice of materials, cell types, growth and differentiation factors as well as technical challenges related to the sensitivities of living cells and tissue construction. Addressing these issues requires complex approach with the integration of engineering, biomaterials science, cell biology, physics and medicine. Remarkably 3D bioprinting has already been used for generation and transplantation of several tissues (multilayered skin, bone, vascular grafts, tracheal splints, heart tissues and cartilaginous structures) as well as development of high-throughput 3D-bioprinted tissue models for research, drug discovery and toxicology.

Currently we are facing a major crisis in healthcare as our lifespan increases and so is the demand for organ transplantation, whereas the number of the organs available for the transplantation is clearly insufficient to provide for existing needs. 3D bio printing can indeed be an elegant solution.

In this brilliant TED talk Anthony Atala is discussing current challenges and advances in 3D printing of human organs.

S V Murphy, A Atala 3D bioprinting of tissues and organs Nature Biotechnology 2014

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