Real Talk: Is It Possible to Replicate a Human Organ in Just a Few Seconds?

Rumour has it that the scientists from EPFL and their co-partners at the UMC Utrecht have figured out a way to replicate live tissue cells in record time. Their super fast sculpting process is said to revolutionise tissue engineering forever.

What’s Bioprinting?

Bioprinting is the literal name for a process that combines biomaterials (e.g. tissues and cells) to sculpt living tissues that mimic natural tissues. The current method is a time-consuming process that builds this structure one layer at a time.

Why is the new project a game changer in this field?

The researchers from the respective medical institutes have improvised this practice by developing a high-tech optical method for replication. It works like a typical 3-D laser printer by projecting the original article (in this case a living tissue) onto the output tray. The only difference is that this smart 3-D printer is molding replicas of human tissues instead of art projects.

How does this work?

Their high-tech printer starts scanning the real tissues from one end. On the other, a super fast laser starts projecting its rays on a spinning tube. The vessel is filled with a ‘hydrogel full of stem cells’. The device starts creating a hollow mould of the tissue by localising the laser’s energy at specific points. The high-energy solidifies the hydrogel to form a 3-D shape in a few seconds.

Once the model is complete, all that’s left to do is to create vessels by introducing endothelial cells to the structure. So far, the researchers have managed to replicate complex sections of the femur, a meniscus, and valves similar to the ones present inside the cardiac chambers.

Despite the fact that the product is still at its initial stage, the researchers are hopeful that their final product could be implemented in various areas of medical science. The most important ones are tissue repairs, drug tests, and organ replacements. You will no longer need to wait for the perfect donor before these surgeries. Moreover, its implication can very well reduce the need for animal testing or experimentation.

Overall, volumetric bioprinting is the key to optimising and personalising tissue engineering. It’s definitely a step towards a better future. Stay tuned synched with Gamma Chat to find out more about developments medical science and the high-tech innovations that are changing the world.