According tomedia reports, although we have heard more about the prospect of 3D printing as an alternative to human organs, these organs need to be implanted through relatively large incisions. However, this could change because a new “bio-ink” can print organs inside the body. Currently, other types of bioink are usually liquids containing living cells, frame materials, and growth factors that promote cell reproduction within frame materials and gradually transform them into pure biological tissues.
The bio-ink is squeezed out of the nozzles of a 3D printer and layer-by-layer to build human components outside the body. In many cases, they are cured into solid materials by exposure to ultraviolet light. Unfortunately, however, exposure of ultraviolet light in the body can cause damage to the patient’s own tissues.
This is where new bio-inks come in. It was developed in collaboration with scientists from the Teraski Institute in California, Ohio State University and Pennsylvania State University.
It is understood that the liquid will flow from the tip of a robotically controlled nozzle and then be surgically inserted into the patient through a small incision. In order to hold the bioink in place, the nozzle pierces a small gap in the patient’s soft internal tissue and then deposits a liquid anchor in the gap. When the nozzle is then retracted, it places another droplet outside the tissue as an additional anchor.
Importantly, the bio-ink can be applied internally at normal body temperature and cured into solids using non-ULTRA-ultraviolet visible light sources.
Although the substance may one day be used to make blood vessels or discs, it is hoped that it will be used for more direct purposes, such as providing patches on damaged or defective organs or creating argon repair nets.