3D Bioprinter Creates Layers of Real Skin

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A close up view of the skin bioprinter nozzle developed by researchers at Wake Forest Institute...
A close up view of the skin bioprinter nozzle developed by researchers at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine(Credit: WFIRM)

While the advent of 3D printers is commonly thought of as a revolution for manufacturing, it could have huge benefits for medicine as well. To help patch up large wounds that might normally require a skin graft, researchers at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) have developed a new bioprinter that can print dual layers of a patient’s own skin directly into a wound.

The idea of 3D printing skin has been in development for a few years. In 2014, a prototype machine was unveiled that could print large sheets of human skin that could then be cut to size and grafted onto a patient. The tech evolved over the years into more detailed machines and eventually a handheld device that works like a tape dispenser for skin.

The new machine looks like a cross between those last two. It’s much larger than the handheld device, but it’s still relatively portable in a hospital setting. The machine can be wheeled to a bedside, and a patient lies underneath the printer nozzle while it goes to work.

Like earlier devices, the new printer uses an “ink” made up of a patient’s own cells, to minimize the risk of rejection. First a small biopsy of healthy skin is taken, and from that two types of skin cells can be isolated: fibroblasts, the cells that help build the structure to heal wounds, and keratinocytes, which are the main cells found in the outermost layer of skin.

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About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).

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