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A company is making 3D printing of human body parts a reality

* printed-body-parts.jpg3D bioprinting is already being used to create cartilage and skin cells to test cosmetics. It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but a technique to 3D print body parts using ink that contains human cells is being developed by a Swedish firm.

Cellink uses a process known as 3D bioprinting that uses cell-laden bio-ink to create and grow human tissues and organs.

The bio-ink itself is created using cellulose sourced from Swedish forests and alginate formed from seaweed found in the Norwegian Sea, which is mixed with human cells and then 3D printed with a special machine.

Currently, the scientists involved are focused on growing cartilage and skin cells that are suitable for testing drugs and cosmetics, but the firm's co-founders believe it could be used in the future to produce organs fit for transplants. For now, the company is working on drug discovery, where potential new treatments can be tested on the 3D printed tissue and the impact evaluated.

21st November 2017

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