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additive in medical Fleshing out the state of the art


A kidney prototype and ear and fi nger bone scaffolds made with Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s 3D printer.


Photos courtesy Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine


Anthony Atala Director


Bioprinting: 3D Printing Comes to Life 3D


printing is driving innovation in many areas, from engineering and manufactur- ing to art and education. The technol-


ogy is also being broadly applied in medicine—from printing prosthetic limbs to making patient-specific models of body parts that surgeons use as guides dur- ing reconstructive surgery. 3D printers have been used to make implants used in a small number of patients, including a titanium jawbone and a tailor-made, biore- sorbable tracheal splint that saved a baby’s life. The next frontier in medical printing is bioprinting—using living cells to print replacement tissues and organs. The idea of lab-built organs is not new and scientists have


James Yoo Professor and


Chief Scientifi c Offi cer,


Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine Winston-Salem, NC


demonstrated the function of engineered airways, bladders, blood vessels and urine tubes in patients. These engineered structures have three key components: scaffolds, made of materials compatible with the body and fashioned in the shape of a tissue or organ; cells, ideally from the patient; and biomolecules, such as growth factors, to induce tissue formation.


This same “recipe” that was used to engineer human


organs and tissue by hand is now used with 3D printers to produce structures such as bone, cartilage, blood vessels, cardiac tissue and heart valves that show promise for clinical use. The ultimate goal is to print complex organs such as livers and kidneys for transplant and to create composite


63 — Medical Manufacturing 2015


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