28/04/2020

3D Organ Printing

After being able to successfully 3D Bioprint onto bone and skin, the goal of developing functioning organs such as livers, kidneys, or hearts, is becoming a reality. 2020 looks to be the year biomedical engineers finally solve the increasing demand for organ transplants.

Bioprinting has come a long way over the last decade. The idea of printing human organs began in 1983 when Charles Hull invented stereolithography, a form of 3D printing technology used for creating products in a layer-by-layer fashion, typically used for the production of plastic car parts.

However, it didn’t take long for Medical Engineers to catch on that this could be the next step in organ transplantation. By taking biomaterials such as cells and considering growth factors to create tissue-like structures that imitate natural tissues.

Organ transplants have been around for decades, but the complications that have surrounded them have been challenging to overcome. These complications include the potential for a host to reject its new organ, or even the difficulty of finding a suitable donor in the first place. The ability to 3D-print an organ not only removes these complications but reduces the increasing need for organ donors across the world.

Bioprinting technology is still in its early stages with tests underway, but promising progress is being made across the globe. In America, researchers have successfully printed a heart; however, today it is unable to pump any blood. In Germany, scientists used a solvent to create a transparent organ so they could inject an ink which would act like blood to ensure the organ is fully functional. A team from Swansea University developed a bioprinting process which can create an artificial bone matrix.

There is a massive push in the industry to have 3D printing revolutionise how we solve biomechanical issues, which is why, at the University of Bolton, we provide facilities that include:

  • 3D motion capture system
  • 3D printing
  • Composite materials manufacturing cells
  • Isokinetic dynamometer
  • Mass spectrometer

All of these facilities allow our students to not only learn about methods being actioned in the industry but also enable them to graduate knowing they have the skills to help other engineers make 3D organ printing a reality for the future.

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We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

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