Jun 26, 2017 | By Julia

Kentucky-based software firm Advanced Solutions has developed a 3D human tissue printer, in a new initiative that could revolutionize global healthcare. Dubbed the "BioAssemblyBot," the new 3D bioprinter isn’t printing useable human organs just yet, but with models that closely mimic functional lungs, hearts, kidneys, pancreases, bones and even human skin, Advanced Solutions reps say it won’t be long before they take the leap to printing real human organs ready for transplant.

"The tools that we've invented, like the BioAssemblyBot, are enabling our scientists and our customers to advance the biology in ways that have never been possible before, so that's very exciting," said CEO Michael Golway.

Golway stated that in the next five years, Advanced Solutions will be shifting from research to clinical application, and begin developing what he called “functional solutions for the patient.”

As the second generation of 3D printers focused on creating biomedical materials, the BioAssemblyBot features a touch screen and laser sensor to direct the robot arm and nozzle exactly where to move and what to do. The specialized software is called Tissue Structure Informational Modeling (TISM), and essentially allows users to design and image the desired tissue structure before the BioAssemblyBot begins replication.

So far the most difficult hurdle to overcome has been perfecting a bioink, the material used for 3D bioprinting. The basic requirement of satisfying the mechanical needs of 3D printing, coupled with containing the necessary elements for making the tissue come alive, has presented a serious challenge for Advanced Solutions developers.

Golway noted that a lot more tests, trials, and errors will need to happen to accelerate the process. For his company to 3D print a viable organ for human usage, Advanced Solutions will need to invest a lot more money, effort, and time.

But with those developments already well under way, the CEO is optimistic about the future. Advanced Solutions is already printing liver cells contained in a bio-structure as large as a U.S. quarter, which is then combined with vascularization technology to begin mimicking a functioning liver.

"We're using raw material from the patient to actually create 3D structures outside the body," Golway said. "We happen to think the vascularization piece, i.e. the ability to get blood flow to the tissues, will be a really critical part and a foundational step to the long term advancements that we'll see in 3D printed organs.

While 3D printing human organs will certainly pose some serious challenges, the head of Advanced Solutions believes this development will be a force for positive change.

"I can only expect that there will be a lot of debate and discussion around the ethics,” Golway said. “I have great confidence that once we go to the clinical side, it will be a safe application for patients."



Posted in 3D Printer



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MaryC wrote at 6/29/2017 6:47:15 PM:

i hardly think this was illuminating - terms are vague, there's no timeline... what the heck is "bioink?" is it patented? how does it become alive? how Long does it stay alive? if it is "skin replacement" - i.e., grafts for burns - will it slough off along with the dermis it was level with when it got attached? (will it follow the skin cell life cycle and keratinize and become epidermis-like, too?)

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