3d printing

How 3D Printing is Advancing the Biotech Industry

Posted By admin / 27th Dec, 2017

3D printing is a method of creating 3D objects by layering materials, much in the same way that an inkjet printer works on paper. 3D printing is commonly used to create models and prototypes but more recently has been incorporated into medical research. Medical research has been growing by leaps and bounds, as has the use of 3D printing in the medical field. 3D printing can be used to create prosthetics and restructure bones and body parts in forensic pathology.

One company, Organovo  Holdings, has been using 3D printing to create human tissues. This “bioprinting” provides a whole new area of opportunities for the use of 3D printing. Human body parts are created by depositing layers of living cells into a gel medium. Organovo has been creating functional human tissues which may one day have the ability to be transplanted into the human body. For now, Organovo is working with Johnson & Johnson to use the tissue for drug discoveries. Other areas of opportunity for bioprinting include advanced testing, increased drug effectiveness, and new job creation.

Advanced Testing

The use of bioprinting allows researchers to do more advanced testing than they ever could before. Not only can researchers test how the bioprinted tissue will react to other tissue, but the effect of new drugs can also be tested on bioprinted tissue to simulate the reaction of human tissue. Organovo has been testing 3D printed liver tissue patches on the livers of immunodeficient mice. Preclinical data have shown an increased durability of the liver tissue and the potential for successfully impacting alpha-one-antitrypsin deficiency, a disease with annual drug therapy costs of over $250,000 for only one patient.

Increased Drug Effectiveness

Patients with different age, race, and gender can react differently to the same drug. Looking as near in the future as 2020, there is speculation that bioprinting will be used to print personalized drug tablets right in the doctor’s office, providing better dosage and control of drug therapy. Drugs created through bioprinting could be tailored to each patient’s metabolic rate, allowing for more complex drug release profiles that are safer for the patient.

Increased Job Opportunities

With the unlimited possibilities that 3D printing and more specifically bioprinting provide, new jobs are being created as well. Up until now, the impact 3D printing has had on healthcare has been fairly minor but bioprinting should change all this. Bioprinting creates the need for a unique skillset where biotechnology firms will look for candidates with engineering, design, and modelling skills that exist alongside the more classic medical and life science skill sets. Examples of jobs in the bioprinting industry include scientists, research associates, biomedical scientists, and biomedical engineering technicians.

At Lifecycle Biotechnologies, we make it a priority to keep informed about the latest developments in medical research. Because medical research is always advancing, it’s important for us to stay relevant and to provide you with pertinent and timely information through our blog. If you’re looking for high quality biotechnology products and services, contact Lifecycle Biotechnologies today.