3D printer produces skin tissue

Canadian researchers have built the first portable three-dimensional bio-printer that prints and deposits sequentially layers of skin to cover even deep wounds of a patient on the spot. The device allows the doctor to produce skin tissue and place it on the wound within two minutes or so.

Researchers at the Toronto University School of Medicine and Applied Science and Technology, headed by Deputy Professor Axel Gunter, made the publication in the Lab on a Chip biomedical engineering magazine.

In patients with deep wounds, all three layers of the skin (epidermis, dermis, scalp) may have been severely damaged. The preferred treatment today is skin transplantation by a healthy donor, but often leaves a portion of the wound uncovered.

On the other hand, most of today’s 3D-bio-printers are bulky, slow, expensive and incompatible with the necessary clinical applications, the Athenian News Agency reports. The new portable leather printer, sized a small shoebox and weighing less than one kilo, solves these problems, so it is considered a significant step forward.

Its bio-ink consists of proteinaceous biomaterials, including collagen and fibrin, which help restore skin integrity. The device, which is easy to use, should be tested in humans before being clinically exploited.