Another step forward to 3D technology!
A team of scientists has engineered a 3D printer that uses human cells as ink. With this, they were able to create a human skin that replicates the natural ones.
Not only will this possibly help burn victims but can even soon eradicate (or at least lessen) the need for animal tests on chemicals, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
The team consists of researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, the Center for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research and Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón. They said the key to this bioprinting is the bioinks which are specifically made of human's biological component.
Just like the structure of a real human skin, the team's creation features the epidermis (external protection), dermis and even fibroblasts that produce collagen (which provides our skin its elasticity and mechanical strength).
"We use only human cells and components to produce skin that is bioactive and can generate its own human collagen, thereby avoiding the use of the animal collagen that is found in other methods," the researchers noted.
“Knowing how to mix the biological components, in what conditions to work with them so that the cells don’t deteriorate, and how to correctly deposit the product is critical to the system,” said one of the authors, Juan Francisco del Cañizo.
And because this new technology has many applications, processes on which the skin is created differs depending on where it will be used. When utilized for transplants on burn victims, the skin will be made from each patient's own cells. For industrial uses, however, a stock of cells can be used for mass production.
“This method of bioprinting allows skin to be generated in a standardized, automated way, and the process is less expensive than manual production,” said Alfredo Brisac, the CEO of BioDan Group, the Spanish bioengineering firm that commercializes such technology.
Is this the start to more printable human tissues?