After the Japanese government has announced the funding of 3D printed human organs with $ 21 million (€ 18 million) earlier this week, a team of scientists now say that they are on their way to create custom made bone, skin and joints with a 3D bioprinter.
The research team led by Tsuyoshi Takato, professor at the University of Tokyo Hospital, has developed “a next-generation bio 3D printer”. By combining stem cells, growth triggering proteins and a synthetic substance similar to human collagen, they claim to be able to mimic the structure of organs and bones. Based on CT scan data the 3D bioprinter would create a custom implant within a few hours.
“We usually take cartilage or bone from the patient’s own body, but these custom-made implants will mean not having to remove source material,” Takato said.
This new method might also give hope to children born with bone or cartilage problems. Regular synthetic implants would be impacted by their body’s growth and are therefor not a good option.
One major problem that this technology still is battling with, it the heat generated by conventional 3D printers, that damages living cells and proteins.
“We haven’t fully worked out how to avoid heat denaturation but we already have some models and are exploring which offers the most efficient method.”
The artificial protein used in for this study was orgininally developed by Fujifilm during studying collage used in photographic film.