Researchers Develop A Rapid 3D Printing Technique That Could Be Used For Organs

One of the major goals in 3D printing and medicine is to be able to 3D print human organs for transplant. People worldwide are waiting on transplant lists because the number of available organs is so low. A group of researchers from the University at Buffalo has created a new and high-speed 3D printing technique that they believe moves medicine one step closer to 3D printed organs.

The engineers shared a short video of their process as it creates a 3D printed hand. The video spans seven seconds and is said to be "sped-up from 19 minutes." While the video does make it look as if the printing process takes only seconds, it actually took 19 minutes to produce. However, keep in mind that 3D printing such a detailed model of the human hand with other systems would take up to six hours.

Scientists on the project say the technology they've developed is between 10 and 50 times faster than the industry standard and works with large sample sizes. The ability of the 3D printing system to work with large sample sizes is something that has been difficult to achieve in the past. The project uses a 3D printing technology called stereolithography and hydrogels. A hydrogel is a jelly-like material used to create a wide variety of products.

University at Buffalo researchers devised a method for rapid printing of centimeter-sized hydrogel models. The team says their process significantly reduces part deformation and cellular injuries caused by prolonged exposure to environmental stresses seen in typical 3D printing processes. The new method is particularly well-suited to printing cells with embedded blood vessel networks, which is crucial to 3D-printed human tissue and organs.