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Week 3 conclusion

What an exciting journey. This week we have gone from printing structures that can facilitate cartilage regeneration though stem cells that are introduced after printing. Then we confronted the challenges involved in developing the inks and protocols that allow us to actually print the stem cells with the structural materials.

This work highlighted the need to integrate hardware development with the materials development targeted to the clinical application. The Biopen emerged.

We also learnt about the importance of being able to distribute biologically active molecules in 3D for a number of applications, to tackle more complex challenges such as printing skin structures for wound healing.

Using the case of the human ear we introduced you to the many challenges that need to be addressed from the design of - to the fabrication of a 3D printed ear.

Next week we will really push the boundaries of what might be possible. If we print layers of cells and biologically active molecules with exquisite precision can we print a brain on a bench? Why would we want to do that?

This endeavour causes us to reflect on the ethical and regulatory issues that arise. We will show how for relatively simple examples such as the implantable heel, these have been addressed. We will discuss how these issues might be the barrier to progress.

And we will reveal what the future might hold.

  • It’s great to see your comments and engagement with the ideas presented. Are there any other important considerations you can think of that would impact the progress of 3D printing applications in the medical world?

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This article is from the free online course:

Bioprinting: 3D Printing Body Parts

University of Wollongong