3D Printing Advancements in the Medical Field

Technology continues to revolutionize the world around us. 3D printing in particular is having a profound impact on nearly every industry out there. The industrial manufacturing industry isn’t the only sector 3D printing is transforming, the medical field has benefited as well. In 2016, researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) showed off their research on successfully transplanting 3D printed tissue into animals.

The team at WFIRM developed a process to create functional 3D printed skin which could have a tremendous impact on the medical treatment of burns and other skin conditions. The conventional burn treatment is to cover the wounds in a layer of healthy skin from another part of the body. However, in some cases burns can be so severe that there is not enough healthy skin to cover the wounds. The WFIRM researchers thought about this issue and came up with the question, why not just print some?

Using a machine called ‘ITOP’, or Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System, the scientists at WFIRM designed, built and tested a printing method that would print skin cells directly onto burn wounds. Led by Dr Anthony Atala, they are able to use a very small sample of the patients skin cells and grow more in a lab. This will be the ‘ink’ that will be printed onto the damaged skin.

“We take a very small piece of their tissue, – We then start to expand those cells outside the body. We use those cells to create new tissues and organs that we can then put back into the body.” explained Dr Atala. http://bit.ly/2lnH4ve

Having this option can address one of the main issues to arise when treating serious burns, rejection. There would be little to no chance of the body rejecting the new skin because it would be the hosts own cells.

3D printing continues to find new and exciting ways to redefine what’s possible. From manufacturing to the medical field, additive manufacturing continues to find interesting uses. WFIRM’s skin printing method has undergone clinical trials on animals and is now waiting on FDA approval to begin human trials. Below you will find a video that shows how the process of 3D printing skin cells actually works.

Find out which manufacturing sectors are ready to be revolutionized by additive manufacturing and its capabilities. https://mfgtalkradio.com/3-industrial-industries-ready-transformed-3d-printing/

Sources:

http://www.designindaba.com/articles/creative-work/3d-printing-skin-cells-directly-burn-wounds
http://www.wakehealth.edu/Research/WFIRM/Research/Military-Applications/Printing-Skin-Cells-On-Burn-Wounds.htm
http://mashable.com/2017/01/18/3d-skin-printer-for-severe-burns/#HUcfG4DvkPqM