Using Ink-Jet Technology to Print Organs and Tissue
Living tissues are composed of many cell types that are all arranged in a very specific order in three-dimensional space. Maintaining this order is essential to ensure engineered tissues and organs maintain the same functionality that original body parts have.
Researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine are using modified ink-jet technology to build a variety of tissue and organ prototypes. This technology allows multiple cell types and other tissue components to be arranged in pre-determined locations with high precision. In an early form of the technology, various cell types were placed in the wells of an actual ink cartridge and a printer was programmed to arrange the cells in a pre-determined order. Watch this early "bioprinting" technology in action below:
Currently, our researchers are using an adapted version of ink-jet printing technology to enable on-site "printing" of skin for soldiers with life-threatening burns. In this proposed technology, skin cells would be placed directly into a print cartridge, along with essential materials to support them, and would be printed directly on the soldier's wound at the site of the wound. Learn more about this and other military applications in development at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Our scientists have also developed a one-of-a-kind 3-D printer to produce organ and tissue prototypes.