Spanish University Creates Human Skin Using 3D Printer
Staff of the Universidad Carolos III de Madrid in Spain has for the first time been able to create human skin with a 3D printer, a huge step forward in medical technology. The process relies on using a special biological ink, made up of human cells, to make honest-to-goodness human skin down to the subdermal level. The result of the hard work by university staff looks and behaves exactly like the real thing.
The artificial skin would have a host of useful applications, but its most important use would be in skin transplants for burn victims or people with a variety of dermatological conditions. Other uses would be testing pharmaceuticals, bypassing the need for rodents to test new drugs on, as well as a host of other medical purposes.
The process itself is simple, even if its ingredients are not: the bio ink is fed into the 3D printer, which then turns out the artificial skin by using advanced biological schematics. The product is truly living skin that’s able to produce collagen and reacts the way real skin does to most tests. Currently, the scientists who created the process are hoping this will only be the first step in creating biological material: though it’s still a long way off, the team hopes to eventually be able to recreate many different kinds of tissue, including like that found in internal organs.
This breakthrough shows that 3D printing is an amazing technology that has more applications than most people can even dream of. Up to now we’ve been able to print out frivolous things, like ice cream, as well as the extremely useful, like entire buildings, but it seems now that we have moved on to the truly revolutionary. Though it’s likely still a long way off, one day people will be walking around with 3D-printed organs.
Fergus has been tinkering with computers since he was a kid and likes to put a stop to parties by listing the specs of all the digital devices in the room. It's best not to let him near your computer since he'll take it apart and may not put it back together again before he leaves.