Usually 3D printers are used to print mechanical parts and figures, but they can be useful in medicine. In 2014 was established the prototype for printing large sheets of human skin that could be cut and used to restore the flesh of the patients with serious wounds. Since that time this technology took a great step forward — researchers from the Institute for regenerative medicine, Wake forest has created a device that can cause new skin directly on affected areas of the body.
It is reported that it has a fairly compact size, so that it can be moved between wards. It can easily be put next to the bed, so that any patient could lie quietly while the printer does its job. It is equipped with special nozzles, which cause “biological ink” on the wounded flesh.
As print substrate is used the material created in samples of healthy human skin. In particular, the surgeons use two types of cells: building the framework for wound healing fibroblasts and keratinocytes — the principal cells that we see on the outside of the skin. Through the use of native patient’s cells, the new material is not rejected by their organisms. Compatible with 3D-printing the mixture formed during the mixing of the cells with the hydrogel.
Unlike medical printers of yesteryear, before the new work was studying the structure of the wounds and reveals her deepest part. First of all, he fills these holes by fibroblasts, and then covers the wound with keratinocytes. This approach considerably accelerates the healing process — the experience in mice has proven that recovery starts from the center of the wound, and this is a great result.
The researchers intend to conduct clinical trials on humans. They believe that the printer will be able to be widely used in the treatment of people with severe burns and other wounds that cannot heal on its own.