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Saturday, June 29, 2013

U of Toronto develops 3D printer that can print skin (and maybe organs) for medical treatment

...The device is still at a prototype stage, with live-animal testing of its output to begin later this year. If successful, Leng’s tissue printer could mark a huge advance in quality of life and survivability for severely burned patients, and dramatically reduce treatment costs. Eventually it could morph into a machine for fabricating internal organs.
Tissue engineering has produced various techniques for building up fabricated skin, usually layer by layer. But that’s a time-consuming process that doesn’t offer much help for people with extensive, life-threatening burns.
“We were interested in easing this process of creating organ-scale tissues,” says Leng, referring to the large patches of skin that could be needed to treat extensive burns. She advanced the idea of the device in her master’s thesis in 2010, and began working on the prototype a year later, with a team that includes her PhD supervisor Axel Guenther, a professor in U of T’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

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