3D Bioprinting is a technology used to “print” organs and tissues. It uses bio-inks and cells to generate 3D structures layer by layer that mimic a living organ or a tissue.
3D bioprinting is pacing in recent years to bring a revolution in the medical field.
It can help print organs for transplantation and cover up the shortage of transplant-worthy organs. It can create 3D human organs for drug screening which would reduce our dependence on animal models.
The idea of bioprinting is the brainchild of Dr. Gabor Forsacs, who combined 3D printing technology with tissue engineering methods in the early 1990s. In 2003, Dr. Thomas Boland from Clemson University invented an injection printing device that used cells and hydrogels to generate 2-D tissue. This device was the primitive version of a bioprinter. In 2006, Dr. Anthony Atala bio-printed the first bladder, which led to the foundation of the first bioprinting company in 2007 called “Organovo.”
Thereafter, Organovo invented the first commercial bioprinter. In 2009, Organovo displayed that biodegradable 3D tissue models can be used to research and develop new drugs, including those to treat cancer.
3D bioprinting is a developing and advanced technology. However, a lot of research is needed for the technology to be truly implemented. Maybe one day, 3D-printed organs would be readily available for transplantation and we wouldn’t have to rely on killing animals for medical research.