3D Printing has opened new gates when it comes to the vastness of possibilities a machine can do. In line with bioprinting, the technology evolved as it now hastily approaches a breakthrough. Several organizations and multiple universities are now in the search of creating artificial human organs in the way of 3D printing.
As of now, the tested parts and final products are still in the confines of the laboratory, and it is still subjected to further testing, but the thought of the progress has been closer than ever in incorporating 3D printed devices that can implant human tissue inside the body.
Even though the development is advancing now that it’s almost in its final stage, the process of developing a device that can transfer human tissue is no easy task. 3D printers can’t just print a mold or design that can be compatible with any human tissue in one go. The 3D printed cells require a specific amount of time actually to grow into a viable tissue.
The BioPen would allow surgeons to repair damaged cartilage and bone by injecting or drawing new cells directly onto a bone during a surgical operation. A group led by ACES Director Professor Gordon Wallace created the BioPen and sent it to the St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne for the clinical trials.
The pen will be loaded with a bio-ink that includes all the necessary components for cellular regeneration. The biopolymer composes of alginate and seaweed extract, and it is covered with the second layer of hydrogel.
When the ink touches the bone part, it will be hardened by the built-in UV light of the pen. The ink will then multiply as it covers the bone and it will eventually grow into a new tissue. This new technology can open newer discoveries in the future because not only that it changes how surgeons operate when it comes to certain cases, it also eliminates the long process determining the exact shape of every damaged bone. The BioPen can directly help doctors fill the damaged part with the hydrogel ink.
Moreover, the BioPen is also open for upgrades and customization for different types of uses such as cell solutions in boosting healing and regrowth. The BioPen concept model was 3D Printed in medical grade materials and titanium which makes it light and easy to sterilize. Professor Wallace stated that the combination of next generation technology and materials in science could open new opportunities such as the collaboration they had with each other.
The prototype is currently showing 97% cell survival which was injected in a test subject and all of this information, and comprehensive research for the study can be found in the journal of Biofabrication.