3D bioprinting might be the response for worldwide organ shortages, as well as to the increasing reluctance to test new cosmetic, chemical, and pharmaceutical products on animals. Do you believe that organs grown in laboratories only exist in sci-fi screenwriters’ heads? Do you think that 3D printing is only used for manufacturing phone cases and plastic toys? It’s high time to set the record straight. Here’s how bioprinting will break into healthcare revolutionizing organ donations and animal testing.
Wait a minute… what is bioprinting?
Put the term bioprinting next to Earth-invader androids, shiny spaceships in a post-apocalyptic setting, and you’ll get the next Hollywood blockbuster. However, as opposed to malevolent aliens, bioprinting not only exists in sci-fi movies, all the more it will transform healthcare in the following decades. Before going into details, though, let’s dissect the technology itself.
3D bioprinting means the creation of living tissues, such as blood vessels, bones, heart or skin via the additive manufacturing technology of 3D printing. The latter implies the production of three dimensional solid objects from a digital file using a layering process. In its most common version, a source material, for example, plastic, is liquefied and then the machine adds layer after layer on the platform until you have a fully formed object.