Scientists unlock 3D printing inside the human body

Researchers from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, have unlocked a new level of 3D printing that happens inside the human body.

2 minutes & 20 seconds read time

In a move to reduce the risk of infection, a team of engineers has designed a new method of 3D printing biomaterial.

The researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia, have posted their findings on the UNSW Newsroom website where they explain that they've developed a new prototype device capable of directly 3D printing living cells into internal organs. The engineers behind the device believe that it could potentially be used as an all-in-one endoscopic surgical tool.

The new tool is called F3DB and is a small, relatively soft robotic arm that can directly print biomaterial onto the surface of internal organs inside a living human body via skin incisions or natural orifices. Why is bioprinting important? The practice is typically performed by researchers that are developing new drugs and testing how they react to certain cells.

However, the engineer's new device is multi-purpose, and while being able to fulfill the drug researcher's needs, it also has the potential to perform precise reconstruction of wounds inside the body, such as gastric wall injuries or internal damage/disease within the colon.

The team behind the prototype device points out that existing 3D bioprinting techniques require a large open-field surgery that increases the risk of infection. Using the flexible 3D bioprinter dramatically reduces the risk of infection, and according to Scientia Professor Nigel Lovell, Head of the GSBmE and Director of the IHealthE, there is currently no other device that can perform in situ 3D bioprinting on internal tissues/organs that are located further back from the skin.

For those wondering, the F3DB prototype is tiny, with a diameter similar to a typical commercial therapeutic endoscope of approximately 11-13mm. According to the press release, the team has been granted a provisional patent for F3DB and is now working through vivo testing on live animals in order to demonstrate its practical use. Furthermore, the team behind the project hopes to add more features to the all-in-one endoscopic surgical tool, such as the inclusion of a camera and a real-time scanning system that would scan the tissue inside the human body and recreate the topography of the area.

In other news, Elon Musk has failed to mention that his push for Neuralink's brain chip to begin human trials has been rejected by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The regulatory body rejected Neuralink's application for human trials, seemingly making Musk's most recent predictions ring hollow. If you are interested in reading more about this story, check out the link below.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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