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Week 3 conclusion

The inclusion of bioactive molecules

“Bringing the bio”

This week we learned about printing structures with the addition of bioactive molecules such as stem cells. We also considered some of the challenges involved in developing inks suitable for printing bioactives. As a result of these advances in material selection, 3D printing hardware also had to advance in the form of the customised Co-Axial tip and the development of the BioPen.

Clinical application

We also learned about the clinical need for bioprinted solutions. Whether it is cartilage for the knee or the ear, cells to regenerate skin or cells needed for liver function - each application ideally requires a personalised solution that bioprinting technology can offer.

Each solution is not without challenge. Our closer look at the case of the human ear helped to identify the complexities that researchers and clinicians need to consider when producing these new, personalised medical solutions.

Next week

Next week, you will learn about how 3D bioprinting and how the surrounding research is really pushing the boundaries of what is possible and what might be possible in the future. If we can print layers of cells and biologically active molecules with exquisite precision, could we print a brain on a bench?

Conversation starter

  • What would impact the progress of 3D bioprinting applications in the medical world?
  • What ethical concerns arise from printing bioactive molecules?

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This article is from the free online course:

Bioprinting: 3D Printing Body Parts

University of Wollongong