Hanghou University of Science and Technology in eastern Zhejiang Province has developed first 3D bio printer in China. Using hydrogel as material the researchers have printed out mini ear cartilage, liver cells, kidney cells and blood vessels.
90% of the printed cells are alive
This 3D bio printer "Regenovo" weighs 50kg, and can print a mini ear or nose in half an hour to one hour; Printing a palm-sized human face mask took four hours, and only 50ml hydrogel were consumed. Meanwhile about 90% of the printed cells are alive, and they can survive for up to four months.
Precision is not enough
Despite the living printed cells, it still takes a long time before this research being used for organ transplants. "The problem is the precision", says Xu Mingen, the lead researcher and professor. The structure of 3D printed liver cell is five times larger than normal cells. "It's like computer screen resolution, 3D printed biological cells is five times rougher than normal cells."
3D printing Kidney
The total investment of this 3D bio printer is around 1 million RMB (USD164,000). The printer has a size of 60 x 50 x 74 cm, with a 80 microns printer nozzle installed. To print a kidney, researchers first print out scaffold using living cells and hydrogel. Then the cells are further cultured for forming functional tissue and organs. The hydrogel degrade when the whole process complete.
It is still impossible to print living tissue and blood vessel simultaneously with current technology. And the 3D printed organ is unlike the living organ that most people would imagine. The 3D printed organ has no color, no blood vessels and nerves.
Scientists expect that living "liver", "kidney" can be printed in the next 10 to 15 years for organ transplants.
Posted in 3D Printers
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Anja wrote at 8/16/2013 7:14:21 AM:
mx wrote at 8/16/2013 6:47:17 AM:
Huazhong University of Science and Technology is not in Zhejiang Province. It is in Wuhan, Hubei Province.