3D-printing skin cells can help patients heal faster

Signal of change / 3D-printing skin cells can help patients heal faster

By Jennifer Revell / 11 Apr 2019

The first mobile bioprinter has been created by scientists from the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM). The machine is able to print skin on to wounds.

The bioprinter can be filled with a patient's cells and treat large wounds or burns by printing skin layer by layer.

This process starts the healing process, making it much faster.


So what?

Currently, the primary method for healing large wounds is the use of skin grafts. These are painful and expensive due to the need for multiple treatments.

The introduction of bioprinters could reduce this cost, allowing hospitals to focus resources elsewhere. Additionally, by speeding up the healing process, both hospitals and patients could save money and time on treatment and pain killers.

However, although costs after treatment could be cut significantly, what are the financial considerations in providing bio-printers in hospitals worldwide?

Controversially, researchers have proposed the use of bioprinters in militaries as about 30% of burn injuries occur in combat casualties.  However, wars often cause more civilian casualties than military. A question of ethics must be considered if these bioprinters are created for military use.

Furthermore, what could the advancement of bioprinting mean for the future? With the ability to grow organs and skin cells, where do we draw the line in the creation of humans?




What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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