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Carnegie Mellon University Researchers 3D Print Tissues Using MakerBot 3D Printers
Human body can repair small tissue damages by itself. However, human body has its limits and cannot fix several types of damages. For example, human body is unable to fix several heart, problems, kidney problems, liver problems, and so on. These problems are fixed by performing organ transplants. Thousands of Americans are on waiting lists for various organ transplants.
Professor Adam Feinberg’s group at Carnegie Mellon is performing research that one day could make it unnecessary to transplant organs. Instead, the required organs will be 3D printed. Professor Feinberg’s group is using MakerBot’s 3D printers for 3D printing tissues.
The technology can best be described in the words of Professor Feinberg, “The challenge with soft materials — think about something like Jello that we eat — is that they collapse under their own weight when 3-D printed in air. So we developed a method of printing these soft materials inside a support bath material. Essentially, we print one gel inside of another gel, which allows us to accurately position the soft material as it’s being printed, layer-by-layer.”
One important aspect of this research is that it is based on use of off-the-shelf 3D printers and not conventional bioprinters. These off-the-shelf 3D printers cost in the range of a thousand dollars which is much more affordable compared typical bioprinters that cost in the range of hundred thousand dollars. Also the research group is using open source software and releasing their 3D printer designs under an open source license.