Anni Mörö is a biomedical engineer and team member behind the achievement at Tampere University, bioprinting a partial human cornea. This took place last year, in an effort to create a replacement for the important and outermost layer of the eye, responsible for focusing. The research and development of this technology are to address corneal blindness, affecting millions the world over.
3D printing of partial organs and research working towards creating fully functional versions are being done worldwide. For example, Israel has also recently produced a heart from the cells of a patient. Albeit the size of a rabbit’s but this doesn’t detract from progress in the field. These tissues could still be used in medical trials for drug development, potentially enabling the end of animal testing.
Bioprinting trades the use of materials for producing clothing or instruments with the cells that make up our bodies, more specifically stem cells. These stem cells can be obtained by many methods, most interesting among them is the reprogramming of other cells to behave like them. Though living, the cells used also require time to mature and become properly functional.
The University of Tampere recently received a new 3D bioprinter to aid the cause of bringing about this brighter future.
Bioprinting technology to speed up and personalize the future of healthcare.
Of course, the process of taking this effort from the lab and readying it for availability for public services will take its time. That’s said, because of the size and complexity of the cornea being less than an entire organ, the team at Tampere hope to bioprint a complete cornea before the end of 2019. More complex parts, such as entire organs, are likely decades away. This is due to trials to ensure their proper function, how they would connect with the components of the human body and prevent rejection of any of these bioengineered parts. This will hopefully be resolved through reprogramming the patients own cells to that end.
Imagine a future where you no longer have to wait in long queues for donor organs. Instead, you visit a clinic to have a replacement printed by providing some of your own cells.
There was a trade fair in Tampere on the 17th April between 1-4pm, where Anni made an appearance to discuss bioprinting. This was a free event, available to the public but you had to RSVP.
More information is available here.
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The writer of the blog post:
Finnish researchers create corneas using 3D bioprinters | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi
Scientists unveil ‘3D-printed heart’ – BBC News
10 Beautiful 3D Printed Instruments (To Make Music) | All3DP
New 3D Bioprinter – LinkedIn
Ihmisen varaosat ja 3D-biotulostus – 3dstep