Human body repair – the next great medical advance – if humans can get over the trust element
The size of the world market for broken body parts – from war, accidents and deformities is going to be huge but doesn’t really exist – simply because if you lose an ear or a leg there is little that can be done other than to stitch you up and send you on your way.
But now – with the convergence of 3D printing and stem cell materials science it’s possible to print body parts. . . see for iDisrupted commentary of bioprinting
and below for commentary from FastCompany and 3D Printing.
The opportunity to change the lives of broken people is huge and it’s a brand new market for VC’s. The barrier to acceptance will be the trust element (you want to attach what to me?) and the facility of the medical infrastructure to execute on the disruption.
From Fastcompany “The most exciting future of 3-D printer tech is in human body repair.
Forget 3-D printable moonbases or even the Million Dollar Bionic Man: British scientists have achieved something amazing: For the first time they’ve proved a 3-D printing technique that uses human embryonic stem cells to create complex, living structures. The printer used a “micro valve” head which allowed it to squirt out a tiny amount of human stem cell matter in a pre-programmed pattern. The stem cells remained alive and–critically–their ability to be modified into any other human body cell was intact (the reason stem cells hold such promise).
The new breakthrough is said to prove the eventual viability of crafting complex 3-D organ structures through a 3-D printing process where stem cells are then modified into cells compatible with, for example, human hearts. For now the researchers are championing the success as a way to speed up drug testing without needing risky in-vivo experiments with volunteers.”
“Research on various aspects of bioprinting is being conducted at numerous facilities throughout the world. Every part of the globe has begun to provide progressive steps for developing specific aspects of the bioprinting process. One of the newer research facilities is located at the University of Iowa (UI), which is working on tissue engineering. The University’s Mechanical and Industrial Department established its bioprinting lab in 2011.
Among other advancements, UI has recently discovered a manner in which organ transplantation and drug testing is completed. According to Dr. Ibrahim Tarik Ozbolat, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, initially they were only able to print cells, “but now we can print tissues and also print the tissues on animals directly.” The major improvement is the result of using 3D printing. Dr. Ozbolat states that bioprinting is the “process of generating spatially controlled cell patterns using 3D printing technologies.” Generally, it involves “a layer-by-layer approach to generate tissue-like 3D structures for use in the medical field of tissue engineering.”
While there are still numerous barriers to overcome with regards to bioprinting organs for transplantation in humans, meaningful progress is being made. And it is not just being made at “big box” research facilities; much of the evolutionary changes are being discovered at smaller research facilities and smaller universities. Most likely it’s these smaller locations that will ultimately hold the key to bioprinting’s future as well as the speed to market of these advancements.”
@3dbioprinted @idisrupted @johnstraw #3Dprinting