Being able to print personalised organs and tissues directly inside patients is now a real possibility after scientists in Canada pioneered a handheld device that can do the job. An innovation that can put complex biocompatible structures inside humans represents a major breakthrough in regenerative medicine.
Explaining the potential uses of in situ bioprinter technology, Associate Professor Mohsen Akbari from the University of Victoria in Canada, said: “In situbioprinting is suitable for repairing large defects caused by trauma, surgery, or cancer, which requires large-scale tissue constructs. In the long term, this technology can eliminate the need for organ donors, while also lowering the risks associated with transplantation, allowing patients to enjoy longer and healthier lives.”
Prof. Akbari said his work in this field is motivated by his mother’s painful experience of breast cancer.
“Two decades ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, which eventually led to the removal of her breast. This affected her well-being considerably. It made me realise that a technology like handheld bioprinting could not only help develop personalized implants for breast reconstruction that match the shape and size of the patient’s tissue, but also be used to create tumor models for the study of breast cancer biology. Such applications could significantly improve treatment outcomes for affected patients.”
New drug delivery systems are another potential application, as structures could be made to release specific doses minimising side effects. The researchers, who published their study in Biofabrication, say it would also work well for the production of ‘custom prosthetics and orthopedic implants’.
Prof. Akbari and his team published the study in more than 70 journals through a ‘transformative agreement between IOP Publishing and the Canadian Research Knowledge Network‘ making them free to access.