Researchers have created what could be called the "world's first production model 3D bio-printer"-a device that could print human tissue, in a scientific breakthrough.
Invetech has delivered the first bio-printer of its kind to Organovo, developers of the proprietary NovoGen bioprinting technology.
Organovo will in turn supply the devices to institutions investigating human tissue repair and organ replacement, reports Live Science.
Keith Murphy, CEO of Organovo, based in San Diego, said the units represent a breakthrough because they provide for the first time a flexible technology platform for organizations working on many different types of tissue construction and organ replacement.
"Scientists and engineers can use the 3D bio printers to enable placing cells of almost any type into a desired pattern in 3D. Researchers can place liver cells on a preformed scaffold, support kidney cells with a co-printed scaffold, or form adjacent layers of epithelial and stromal soft tissue that grow into a mature tooth. Ultimately the idea would be for surgeons to have tissue on demand for various uses, and the best way to do that is get a number of bio-printers into the hands of researchers and give them the ability to make three dimensional tissues on demand," said Murphy.
The 3D bio-printers include an intuitive software interface that allows engineers to build a model of the tissue construct before the printer commences the physical constructions of the organs cell-by-cell using automated, laser-calibrated print heads.
"Building human organs cell-by-cell was considered science fiction not that long ago. Through this clever combination of technology and science we have helped Organovo develop an instrument that will improve people's lives, making the regenerative medicine that Organovo provides accessible to people around the world," said Fred Davis, president of Invetech, which has offices in San Diego and Melbourne.