With the rapid growth of the 3D engineering industry, technological advancements fuel the development of many other industries, in particular, the biomedical field. With printers spitting out three–dimensional human cells and organs, the medical field is becoming more technologically advanced than ever. Through recent research, 3D engineering is enabling scientists to print human embryonic stem cells.
Stem cells have been a popular topic in the biological and medical field and have been heavily funded since its discovery in the 1960s. Researchers from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh have created a cell printer capable of spitting out living embryonic stem cells through a process gently enough to keep the cells alive for 3 days. The contribution of 3D engineering to the medical field allows the creation of 3D human tissues which can be used to test new drugs, grow organs or print cells directly inside the body.
Human embryonic stem cells are cells which have the ability to develop into any cell type in an adult person. This characteristic makes them the popular choice for testing regenerative medicine – medicine which repair, replace and regenerate damaged cells.
The stem cell printer developed at Heriot-Watt University allows cells to be created through 2 bio-ink; one containing a stem cell in a nutrient-rich liquid and the other with just a liquid. The smallest droplets are dispensed onto a dish and stem cells form clumps; then it is ready for testing.
The influence of 3D printing to the biomedical field is becoming more evident and due to these advancements, we should be expecting to see medical discoveries and innovations very soon.