Mobile Skin Bioprinter Is Being Created By Scientists To Treat Our Wounds
The promise of printing human organs began with Charles Hull, back in 1983. Bioprinting is becoming closer and closer to that. The greatest thing about bioprinting is that it imitates the micro- and macro-environment of human beings tissues.
This technology brought essential benefits to improve medicine, such as:
- The possibility to create artificial organs, due to the lack of available organs and vital organ failures. This handles organ-related issues in a shorter time;
- The development of tissues meant to be tested, which is cheaper and more ethical than animal testing;
- Bone tissue regeneration;
- Identification of drugs' side effects;
- Plastic surgery and skin grafting.
The new gadget - Mobile Bioprinting
Bioprinting evolved to a whole new level. Scientists from the school's Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) took another step. They developed the first mobile skin bioprinting system. It aims to print skin directly into a wound after filled with the patient's cells.
"The unique aspect of this technology is the mobility of the system and the ability to provide on-site management of extensive wounds by scanning and measuring them in order to deposit the cells directly where they are needed to create skin", says the Ph.D. and assistant professor Sean Murphy.
A mobile bioprinter substitutes the painful procedure of skin grafts in patients that have severe burns and wounds. Once it can give the treatment right away, it makes the whole process easier to access. Its delivery is fast, and it costs less to patients.
How does it work?
The procedure starts with a small biopsy from the patient's healthy tissue, followed by the isolation of healthy skin cells. Afterward, these cells are mixed with a protective hydrogel (a crosslinked structure, able to absorb and retain considerable amounts of water). The mobile skin bioprinter applies that mixture in the damaged patient's tissue. The procedure happens with high accuracy, layer by layer.
After each layer, the treated area receives UV light (also included in the mobile bioprinter) to solidify the gel. This makes possible the addition of the next layer.
The protective gel will gradually disappear, and only new tissue will take its place. As a result, the patient gets a three-dimensional framework that just took care of her/his skin.
Getting closer to reach humans
The creators of the mobile skin bioprinter were successful while testing it in pre-clinical models. Their next step will be to treat humans. Our bodies are immensely complex and this technology is very challenging and time-consuming. Although we're not there - yet - it is surely getting closer every day to help thousands of millions of people.
Keywords: Bioprinter, 3D printing, skin, technology, medicine