Inkjet Printers to make Skin

Could we soon be printing skin using simple modified inkjet printers? The technology within inkjet printers has inspired scientists to look for ways to build sheets of skin that could one day be used for grafts in burn victims. One technique involves a portable bioprinter but the other more interesting technique involves a 3D printer combining donor cells, biofriendly gel and other materials to build cartilage. This isn’t so out there as you might think. We’ve already printed beating heart cells and are actively working on the same technology for organs. According to Hod Lipson of Corniell University in New York:

“It spits out plastic to gradually build an object layer by layer… after a couple of hours you end up with a real physical object that you can hold in your hand, Just imagine — if you could take cells from a donor, culture them, put them into an ink and recreate an implant that is alive and made of the original cells from the donor — how useful that would be in terms of avoiding rejection, That is where we are going. Let’s see how far we can go.”

So far, the type of cells that has worked best is cartilage, which is strong enough to withstand the rigors of the printing process. But the basic technology is remarkably simple – it’s just a regular ink-jet printer with an “elevator” added that allows it to print in three dimensions, plus its ink cartridges is replaced with cell cultures.

Via [Discovery News]

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