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Scientists 'Print' Human Skin Using 3D Bioprinter -- Is This the Future of Skin Replacement?

Mar 16, 2017 01:43 PM EDT
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Scientists Use 3D Bioprinter To 'Print' Human Skin - Uses, Benefits Of New Technology
A group of scientists were able to create a prototype and still fully-functional human skin with a 3D bioprinter. They plan on improving this technology and use the skin for pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetic benefits.
(Photo : Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A group of scientists were able to print a prototype and fully-functional human skin using a 3D bioprinter. The new technology may be used for pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetic procedures.

The printed human skin was the brainchild of researchers from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, the CIEMAT or the Center for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research and the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon, with the help of the BioDan Group.

The process can be used in two ways. The first is to create allogeneic skin from a cell stock for industrial purposes. A patient's skin is then used to create autologous cells, for therapeutic use such as burns. This new "automated and industrialized" procedure wil be less expensive than manually producing skin.

According to UC3M, the human skin will be one of the first "living" organs that would be created via bioprinting and the first to be introduced in the market. Interestingly, the product itself "is like" the skin, with an epidermis and a dermis. Its third layer are fibroblasts that create collagen, which provides the skin's elasticity and strength.

The research, published in Biofabrication, marks the first use of 3D printing technology to actually create human skin. The researchers used biolinks instead of cartridges and colored inks to "print" the skin. This means injectors with biological components were used to create the skin, like how printers make paper.

Juan Francisco del Canizo, one of the researchers, said the best way to do this is to learn which components mix the best so the cells will not die quickly.

The scientists first used human cells so they can create their own human collagen, which means operations will now be done without relying on animal collagen.

European regulatory agencies are currently in the process of approving the usage of such a method in transplants or with skin problems.

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