Scientists Develop 3D Bioprinter to Print Functional Human Skin

A Prototype for a 3D bioprinter that can create totally functional human skin. Photo Credit: UC3M

Soon, most of the worries related to the human skin is going to be over. You might be able to 3D-print new skin to adjust the wrinkly and damaged one to maneuver aging body.

3D Bioprinting Technology

Scientists from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), CIEMAT (Center for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research), Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, in collaboration with the firm BioDan Group, have presented a model for a 3D bioprinter which can create totally functional human skin.

In a recently published article in the journal Biofabrication, the team of researchers demonstrated for the first time that with the help of new 3D printing technology, it is possible to produce proper human skin.

One of the authors of the study, José Luis Jorcano, Professor at UC3M’s Department of Bioengineering and Aerospace Engineering and head of the Unit CIEMAT/UC3M in Biomedical Engineering, points out that, “This new human skin is one of the first living human organs created using bioprinting to be introduced to the marketplace”.

This skin is satisfactory for relocation to patients or for use in research or for the testing of chemicals, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products in quantities and with timetables and prices that are compatible with these use.

The 3D-printed skin replicates the natural structure of the skin, with an external layer, the epidermis along with its stratum corneum. This helps to protect against the external environment, together with another thicker and deeper layer, the dermis. The deeper layer consists of fibroblasts that produce collagen, the protein that gives elasticity and mechanical strength to the skin.

A Prototype for a 3-D bioprinter that can create a totally functional human skin. Photo Credit: UC3M

According to the experts, bio-inks are essential for 3D bioprinting. Instead of cartridges and colored inks, injectors with biological components are used when creating the new skin.

“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,” says Juan Francisco del Cañizo, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón and Universidad Complutense de Madrid researcher.

How The 3D bio-printers Work

The bioprinter makes use of a special bio-ink made up from human cells and other biological components to recreate the skin’s natural structure involving both external epidermis and the deeper dermis layer.

The act of depositing these bio-inks are patented by CIEMAT and licensed by the BioDan Group. These are controlled by a computer. The bio-inks from the special injectors are accumulated into a print bed to create skin that can produce its own human collagen which implies that the 3D printed skin is basically a living tissue.

So, this technology suggests an excelling alternative of producing a living tissue which involves using the patient’s own skin or using an animal tissue.

Two Processes Provided By The System

To produce allogeneic skin, from a stock of cells done on a bigger scale for industrial purpose.

To create autologous skin, which is made according to patients requirement from the patient’s own cells for therapeutic use such as in the healing of severe burns.

Convenient Technology

“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”. says  Alfredo Brisac, the CEO of BioDan Group, a bioengineering firm commercializing the technology,

“The method allows production of skin in a standardized and automated way and the process is also less expensive compared with manual production”, he added further.

The results demonstrate that 3D bioprinting is a convenient technology to generate bioengineered skin for therapeutical and industrial applications in an automatized manner.

Currently, this advancement is in the phase of being approved by different European regulatory agencies to ensure that the skin which is produced is capable for the use in skin transplants on burned patients and also for those with other skin problems.

Capability of Printing Other Human Tissues

The technology also offers a range of possibilities to print other human tissue specifically in the field of medicine.

Moreover, the experts believe that this technology is also capable of printing tissues and organs such as hearts and arteries. Printing organ tissues can help in addressing the problems of organ shortage.

This technology can make a lasting difference between life and death.

Source Iopscience Techtimes

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