Printing Skin

In 2005 the idea of using inkjet printer technology to “spray” on new layers of skin had been proposed but was probably dismissed by most as “science fiction”. Now it’s becoming a reality.

‘Skin Printer’ Could Help Heal Battlefield Wounds – [technologyreview.com]

The system, which lays down cells with the same fluid-based inkjet technology used in many printers, could print large swathes of living tissue directly onto the injuries of soldiers wounded on the battlefield. Covering burns and related wounds is of critical importance because, the scientists note, “any loss of full-thickness skin of more than 4 cm in diameter will not heal by itself.”

Tests on mice revealed advanced healing by both the second and third week of recovery, with complete closure and formation of scar tissue by week three in treated (but not untreated) subjects. The printer has two heads, one of which ejects skin cells mixed with fibrinogen (a blood coagulant) and type I collagen (the main component of the connective tissue in scars). The other head ejects thrombin (another coagulant).

Tissue.prn: Desktop Printer Technology Used to Lay Down Regenerated Skin Cells to Treat Burns in Mice – [scientificamerican.com]

The same printer technology that sits on your desk could soon be a common fixture in rebuilding human tissue, treating burns by laying down layers of a patients’ own skin or even rebuilding whole organs.

A team at Wake Forest University has built a “bioprinter” that uses cells instead of ink. It even uses an ordinary, off-the-shelf printhead, connected to test tubes full of different cell types instead of wells full of colored inks.

SEE ALSO:
Printing Body Tissue
Rebuilding Our Bodies
Sensitive Synthetic Skin
Skintronics
TF Skin
Flexible LED Tatoos
Drexler Spacesuit

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