3D printing

Sci-fi biotechnical scenarios are turning into a reality. Bionic arm in starwars indicates what the future holds. Scientists have claimed the feasibility of 3D printing of muscles, organs, bones and their implantation into the human body. The doctors , in the coming decade will be able to build brand new body parts and that won’t cost another limb. Body parts thus created, which,when implanted into the body, mature into functional tissues. Using 3D printers, body parts can be fabricated and these printers are an important advance in our quest to produce organs and tissues that could be used for surgical implantations.

Tissue engineering was once merely a fascinating idea. the integrated tissue and organ printing system makes use of both biodegradable and water based gels for tissue generation. Initially, the scientists weren’t sure enough if the life of the organs be enough to be integrated in the human body. “bio-ink” is synthesized in the the 3 D printer, which is made up of materials compatible with the human body, thus, leading to the generation of blood vessels and arteries on their own. Experts described the technology, developed in the US, as a “goose that really does lay golden eggs”. The idea of placing individual human cells in a precise pattern to replace a damaged jaw, missing ear or scarred heart muscle holds much promise.

The generation of blood vessels is quite a time consuming process .So, initially, the tubes are printed out of cells and other biomaterials to deliver essential nutrients to the surrounding printed environment. Eventually, these self assembled capillaries are able to connect with the bio-printed tubes and deliver nutrients to cells on their own,enabling these structures to function like they do in the body.Scientists are trying to leverage the body’s ability for self directed growth and the cells, thus, generate blood vessels on their own.Printing of the body parts is done layer by layer.Initially,a layer of hydrogel is printed as a frame,followed by differentiated stem cells. Printing is done from the inside out,to leave cavities of a required thickness. Blood flows through these spaces bringing organs to life.since the body part is grown from patient’s own stem cells ,it will be an identical immune match,and there will be no risk of rejection.bionic ear,liver cells,skin,blood vessels and heart valve can be printed. Generation of artificial body parts has totally changed the way we think of medicine and biology . The idea itself might have sounded absurd years ago but its feasibility is probably the best thing we could think of that the future might hold .

Vanya Sharma


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