Companies want to 3D print human skin within the next five years, using a mix of live cells and specialized 3D machines. The bioprinting market could evolve into a $1 billion market by 2025, and offer a scalable method for personalized medicine.
Cosmetics company L'Oreal is working with the Organovo biotech company to begin 3D printing skin tissues. If done successfully, both companies hope for realistic product testing in the future. It's possible to grow real skin in a laboratory, but it's a slow and costly procedure - using bioprinting with 3D printers would greatly accelerate the process.
"Some safety questions are still difficult to mimic with today's methods and new, additional non-animal alternative methods are needed," said Elena Lurie-Luke, P&G Global Life Sciences innovation leader, in a statement published by CNN Money. "3D bioprinting is a promising option for the future."
The US military has researched various uses for bioprinting, including restoring skin on soldiers, using skin that is elastic and supports hair follicles, pigmentation, and sweat glands. There are a number of great uses for bioprinting, and it should be exciting to see how the technology develops further.