Printing replacement human organs gets a step closer
IT giant Hewlett Packard thinks the world market for 3D printers and related software and services will grow from US$2.2bn in 2012 to $11bn in 2021. In turn, experts from the American market research company, International Data Corporation (IDC), are assuming that this year, 67 percent more 3D printers are going to be sold than in the previous year.
The medical field is an area of application with great potential – all the way to the idea of creating entire organs with 3D printers in the future.
It is not surprising that 3D printers will play an important role at November’s Compamed trade fair in Düsseldorf.
As a joint effort, scientists of the universities of Harvard, MIT, Sydney and Stanford have put together a comprehensive research report that experts consider a great leap in the field of medical 3D printing.
By their own account, the study represents a breakthrough of how 3D tissue with blood vessels can be printed. The supply of blood is crucial for the function of organs, ensuring a sufficient supply of oxygen as well as removing waste and toxic substances from circulation.
In the report, a solution is described to scientists on how blood vessels can be made with a 3D printer. For this, a printer is used that can print the smallest fibres possible, connected with each other. This type of printing almost corresponds to the vessel structure of a human organ.
Subsequently, the fibres will be coated with human cells and a special protein that is supposed to stimulate cellular growth.