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Getting a Transplant? Think about 3D-Bioprinting

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Every day thousands of people lose their life to Cardiac arrests, it is one of the most prevalent causes of death. According to statistics incidence of cardiac arrest is 326,200 and the average survival rate is 10.6%. This is about only one organ, the heart. Other organs like kidney, windpipes and liver failure is extremely common now days. Due to scientific advancement in the field of Bio-medical engineering 3D Bioprinting models have found an answer to the ever-growing demand for organs.

What is 3D Bio printing? 3D Printing is a method of Additive manufacturing used in several fields like engineering, art, education, and now into medicine. This complex process is used to create 3D printing of biological organ models comprising of patient’sown cells, Bio-inks and supporting nutrient matrix developed and layered intricately into 3d functional living tissues and finally making them viable in-vivo (inside the organism). This process involves lots of mechanical and biological challenges which must be addressed.

How does it work? Usually this method of mixing Bio-inks into organism was used to study Drug or Pharmacokinetics inside human body, research and Toxicology. Now these bio-inks are mixed with bio-cells and supplied with oxygen and nutrients. According to the biological processes cells combine to form tissues and tissues of various types combine to form an organ.  All these organs are developed from basically totipotent cells called Stem cells which were generated from the adult cells taken from the patient or receiver. These stem cells are nourished and inked and intricately placed via 3D printer models.

What are the 3DPrinters? These are printers which have 3 components the hardware, the bio-ink and the bio substance called bio-paper, the gel on which the print is made. The volume of the target organ is measured by CT, MRI scans and are designed layer by layer by the printer and later filled with bio-ink. Thus, creating an exact intricate scaffolding as that of the organ.

As the cells develop to form a tissue it is transferred in-vivo where several mechanical, physiological and developmental challenges await. It was noticed that for liver and kidney tissue could not fulfill certain physiological functions they are supposed to perform. But success has been arrived at skin grafts leading to multi-layered skin, Blood vessels, heart tissue, Tracheal splints and Cartilage tissue.

Achievements of using 3D Bio-printing Technology in Regenerative Medicine:

  • Technological Innovations cannot be limited one particular field or organ system in medicine, it has been in several forms. Like treating Congenital disorders like Tracheobranchiomalacia, there is ill development of trachea and bronchioles in a patient, as there were no donors available Doctors have used a 3D- printed lung splint using polycaprolactone (biodegradable polyester).
  • A material called Graphene is used to create nanoparticle structure using micro-pipetting technique depending on the 3D printing scaffolds. Graphene has the quality of impeccable strength and durability is used to create molds of prosthetics which were then fixed to patient’s limbs customized to them.
  • Thus, 3D bio-printing is used in Tissue engineering, bio- medical engineering, Skin grafts, Organs like heart, liver, kidney can also be designed rather than waiting for donors.

 

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