Image Credit: Liz Do, University of Toronto
At the University of Toronto, scientists have developed a 3D skin printer that is capable of forming “tissue in situ, depositing and setting in place, within two minutes or less.”
The new, portable skin printer looks similar to a white-out tape dispenser. However, instead of a tape roll, the printer is outfitted with “a microdevice that forms tissue sheets.”
Protein-based biomaterials, such as collagen and fibrin, compose the Bio Ink which runs along the tissue sheets in vertical stripes. Both aid with wound healing. “Our skin printer promises to tailor tissues to specific patients and wound characteristics,” said Navid Hakimi, study lead author and PhD student, in a statement.
According to associate professor Axel Guenther, the newly-developed 3D bioprinter is smaller, lighter, faster, and more affordable than current versions. Not only does it weigh less than one kilogram, it is about the size of a small shoe box.
The University of Toronto claims the device “also requires minimal operator training and eliminates the washing and incubation stages required by many conventional bioprinters.”
Research on the device was published in the journal Lab on a Chip last month. It will be some time before the 3D skin printer is available to the public. This is because the team aims to add additional capabilities, such as “expanding the size of coverable wound areas.” In the future, they hope to conduct clinical trials on humans.
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