In 2017, the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane will start operating an innovative 3D printing facility for biological objects on a permanent basis. This is the first step of a large initiative - in the future, they are going to equip all Australian operating rooms with similar bio-printers.
3D printing has been in demand in medicine for several years, but until now everything was limited to artificial objects. Heart valves, imitators of intervertebral discs, knee menisci, parts of the ear - in fact, we were talking about copies of conventional prostheses and implants. Now doctors are close to realizing their cherished dream, creating new body parts from scratch.
The patient's donor cells are placed in an installation, where the required amount of similar material is grown on their basis, which is then combined into a single whole. So far, we are talking about relatively simple structures - scientists work with bone and cartilage tissue. They can create part of a joint or skeleton to replace lost, but not complex organs.
And even as such, a medical 3D printer is a revolutionary breakthrough. First of all, because it minimizes the need for donor material from living people. Plus the neutralization of the problem of tissue rejection, because the patient is transplanted with clones of his own cells. In parallel, it is possible to conduct research on isolated samples without endangering the body as a whole, and this promises an increase in the quality of medical services.