There has been an umpteen demand for organ donation, with health of tens of thousands of people in the U.S. depending upon it. In the wake of the urgency of the situation, Ohio State University researchers are dedicating extensive research in developing 3D printing inside the body.
The study focuses on printing materials, living cells which will repair segments of tissue, organ, in addition to working on an ambitious project of even building an entire kidney.
The team of researchers at Ohio State have thus developed a technology by adding a tool which could help 3D print biomaterials inside the human body.
Explaining the latest novel technology David Hoelzle, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering said, “Not entire organs but sections of an organ and trying to do some kind of basic biological repair there.”
Furthermore, the technology will also help to build a biomaterial scaffold with tethered cells, drugs, and growth factors to repair or replace damaged tissue. This process is called tissue engineering and does not require tissue transplant or donation.
This would further require a construct with approximate biological, chemical and mechanical properties of organ, in addition to allowing the body to have cells infiltrate the structure and create into a new functioning organ.
This kind of surgical device would hence require multiple applications. The team however is now concentrating on soft tissues like liver, gut area, bladder, kidney and muscle.
“Something that maybe had to be removed because you had to remove a cancerous legion, something of that manner. It could also be looking at regrowing blood vessels at a certain region that’s necrotic,” Hoelzle explained.
Some of the other procedures also involve building surgical meshes to repair hernia and filling the gaps during a wedge resection of a liver. During such a procedure, they will leave a section completely removed or filing it with nothing. The wedge back up can also be sutured, among others.
The more ambitious plan is to be able to create an entire organ using this tool. Current efforts however involve combining fields of robotic surgery, tissue engineering and 3D printing.
Sources suggest a prototype tool has been developed in the laboratory, which needs to be refined for surgeons to be able to control it.