Nov 21, 2016 | By Tess

Australia’s Herston Health Precinct has announced that it will be opening a new biofabrication institute on its premises. The institute, which will occupy two floors at the Herston Health Precinct, will be dedicated to imaging, modeling, and manufacturing 3D printed patient-specific tissues. The new 3D bioprinting lab will be realized in partnership with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the Metro North Hospital and Health Service.

Animation of Biofabrication Institute

3D bioprinting, or biofabrication, is a growing field across the globe and one that could vastly improve medical treatments and possibilities for patients. Within Australia, the new institute will mark the very first time that a bioprinting lab is co-located with a high-level hospital.

According to Cameron Dick, Australia’s Minister for Health, “Researchers, scientists, nurses and doctors will all be working together to deliver the best outcome for patients. Our vision of healthcare is that the biofabrication institute will pave the way for 3D printers to sit in operating theatres, ready to print tissue as needed, in our hospitals of the future.” Dick also notes that the 3D bioprinting institute will help push Australia forwards in terms of its medical innovation and technology.

The Herst biofabrication institute, which is expected to bring in between $10 and $15 million in investments per year within the next five years, will feature many new technologies, and a wide range of innovative equipment. Specifically, the facility will be equipped with the necessary tools for tissue engineering, clinical scanning and visualization, 3D modeling and 3D printing, and notably, will feature educational spaces and innovation hubs. Herston Health Precinct, which announced the new institute earlier today, expects that their biofabrication institute will be up and running by as soon as 2017.

The focus of the biofabrication institute will be to create patient-specific tissues that can be implanted for a number of different treatments. As Mia Woodruff, an associate professor from the QUT Biofabrication and Tissue Morphology Group, has explained, the tissues themselves will be printed from cells taken from the patient in question so that the implants are fully compatible with the patient’s body.

Herston Health Precinct

“A lot of the implants we are developing, we can implant into a patient and as the tissue grows back, it is not rejected, the scaffold will resorb over time and the tissue will grow even more and eventually the implant is gone,” Woodruff explained.

In other words, the biofabrication lab will turn away from using metal implants (another growing area within the 3D medical field) and really focus on developing and pushing forwards 3D bioprinting technologies and the use of composite biodegradable and biocompatible materials for implant purposes. The ultimate goal of the new institute will be to 3D print an entire organ.

And while this goal may take awhile to be realized, the people behind Australia’s upcoming biofabrication institute are confident that they will be properly equipped to 3D print an organ when technology and research catch up. Woodruff commented, “We are not going to be able to 3D print an organ tomorrow but what we are able to do is bring together the researchers, the clinicians, the patients, the engineers, the intellect and industry partners to be able for us to develop new technology to the level where it can be translated into the clinic. This is where you are able to create these artificial organs in the future.”

 

 

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Alvaro wrote at 11/25/2016 2:25:40 AM:

Australia has gifted us with breaktroughs in 3d bioprint i hope that it is an example that must be followed worldwide.Go Australia!

CrazyCroc wrote at 11/22/2016 11:48:59 AM:

But will crocodile Dundee be employed in the institute? I hope so. He could look at the surgeon and say 'that's not a knife, this is a knife' and then pull out a massive knife and finish off the operation.



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