Most of us are used to thinking that 3D printers can only print some little things for a plastic house, but now 3D printing has found application in medicine. Currently, development is underway to create human organs on a bioprinter, and students from Canada have already made a 3D printer capable of printing skin for people affected by fires. The new device was developed by students Ariana McAlister and Liane Lang from the University of Toronto and was named PrintAlive.
Traditionally, burn victims have had their own skin grafted from healthy areas, but with PrintAlive, significantly more skin can be obtained for grafting. In addition, the printer can reproduce hair follicles and sweat glands from a hydrogel. And given the fact that the patient's own cells are used for production, this eliminates the problem of tissue rejection by the immune system.
The development of the printer has been going on since 2008 and now a preliminary prototype of the second generation is ready, which is comparable in size to a microwave. This makes it mobile enough to be used around the world. So far, the printer has been tested in mice and scientists are preparing to test it in pigs. After that, clinical trials on humans will be carried out for several years.