3D bioprinting has a lot of applications in the field of medicine. Innovators are making significant contributions to the development of the said technology. Aside from prosthetics, researchers can now use 3D bioprinting for stem cell research.
Researchers from the Heriot-Watt University in Scotland was the first group to 3D print stem cells using the valve-based technique. Dr. Will Shu, the lead researcher of the experiment, wants to use 3D printing technology for patient-specific drug treatments.
With the ethical issues behind animal drug testing, this technology is very beneficial to test different types of drugs. The problem with using stem cells for drug-specific treatment is that the live cultures are sensitive thus the cells may end up dying even before testing can begin. The new technique developed by the researchers may end animal testing altogether.
The team was able to print 3D printed stem cells by creating their own hardware to handle the fragile nature of the stem cells. Starting with small batches of 3D printed cells, the team was able to use the bioprinted materials to test drugs. This allowed the doctors to find out which doses provide fewer side effects but better benefits to patients. Dr. Jason King from Roslin Cellab was tapped by the researchers from Scotland to assist in developing products for the commercial stem cell sector.
With the vast horizon for 3D printing, scientists are discovering complex processes that they can utilize 3D printing to help ease different problems in the field of medical science.