3D printing has revolutionized the medical industry and now it can help in the treatment of burns. 3D skin printer will now help doctors to treat burn patients without any problem. Currently, skin grafting methods are used for this purpose which is quite painful for the patients. With 3D skin printer, the treatment will be cheaper, faster and most importantly easier on the patients. But the end result will be that the patients will get a functional human skin, just like the real one. Dr. Marc Jeschke, the director of Ross Tilley Burn Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto and his team, have developed the 3D skin printer by collaborating with researchers from the University of Toronto.
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The Process of Printing New Human Skin
As Jeschke explains the process is started by harvesting healthy skin cells from the burn patient and then the cells are studied and reproduced in the lab. They are grown in different containers and are made exactly into that type of the cell which the researchers want. The printer then guides the cells to the next location. This is done using a cartridge that interlaces the cells together with a gel-like matrix. This serves as the 3D scaffolding of the skin.
Through the cartridge, the cellular weaving comes out and it then drifts through the reservoir of the printer. Finally it settles around the revolving drum, from where the strips are gathered and then cultured. Different cells are imprinted into the 3D matrix that comes out and it’s almost ready to be used on the patient.
Right now the 3D skin printer is still in preclinical trials. However, Dr. Jeschke said that they expect to move to human trials in the next two years. If that goes well, then the 3D printers could be used in hospitals in the next five years to treat burn patients.
However to reach there, the project needs more funding. Members of the team headed by Dr. Jeschke had won a prestigious international engineering prize, the 2014 James Dyson Award from Canada. The prize also came with cash, which will only cover a fraction of the total cost that will be required to complete the project.
If the printer gets developed and is available for use, it will prove to be extremely beneficial for the burn treatment.
What do you think?
Do you think this a significant step in the development of 3D printing? What other applications of this technology do you like? Share your insights in the comments below.
Image Source – cbsnews.com
Article Source – cbsnews.com