Bioprinting, one more revolution
in medical treatments in the 21st Century

Medical treatment for patients with even a multitude of illnesses has evolved in the last century dramatically and is reaching new heights in the beginning of the 21 century. What was considered only yesterday science fiction, today is on the brink to become reality. Technology advancements and the application from bench to bed side is often still experimental, but even experimental, amazing results have already been achieved.

When thinking of treating patient with so far unmet medical need we can read today that there are various new emerging technologies available, we in our web-sites focus on:

Investigational autologous & allogeneic Cell Therapy 
Energy Medicine related health support
Cell Medicine anti-aging products 

AND as an additional cell related informational source:
Experimental Bio-printing technology

All of these technologies are sometimes competing but also may be combined to achieve an even better result. Undoubtedly, however, it will change the way as we are treating patients. In this page we are reviewing the new field of Bio-printing.

What is 3D Bio-printing?

Let’s just review briefly the history of 3D printing. Not too long ago in 1984, the first functional 3D printer was created by Charles (Chuck) Hull. He named the technique 3D printing Hull“Stereo lithography” and obtained a patent in 1986 for the technology. He is also the co-founder of 3D system who brought the technology successfully to the market.

3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object

Today in 2018, the smallest Home-use 3D printer costs around 500 Euros and advanced ones can produce all kind of products and designs from airplane and automotive parts, to cloths, jewellery, ceramics and even food, e.g. chocolate cupcakes! The industrial 3D printer J750 from Stratasys cost around 250.000 USD and prints all colors. 

3D Bio printing has also opened the door to amazing innovations in the medical industry, giving us the ability to 3D print prosthetics, limbs, even organs, and human tissue.

Organovo, a regenerative medicine company focused early on, on bio printing technology, and announced in December 2010, the release of data on the first fully bio printed blood vessel. The following video from TED with Andras Forgacs, the founder of Organovo, summarizes well bio printing.

Organovo’s bio printing process centres on the identification of key architectural and compositional elements of a target tissue, and the creation of a design that can be utilized by a bio printer to generate that tissue in the laboratory environment.

Once a tissue design is established, the first step is to develop the bioprocess protocols required to generate the multi-cellular building blocks—also called bio-ink—from the cells that will be used to build the target tissue.

The bio-ink building blocks are then dispensed from a bio printer, using a layer-by-layer approach that is scaled for the target output. Bio-inert hydrogel components may be utilized as supports, as tissues are built up vertically to achieve three-dimensionality, or as fillers to create channels or void spaces within tissues to mimic features of native tissue.

The bio printing process can be tailored to produce tissues in a variety of formats, from micro-scale tissues contained in standard multi-well tissue culture plates, to larger structures suitable for placement onto bioreactors for biomechanical conditioning prior to use.

Organovo scientists believe that engineered tissues will someday be a routine source of therapy for patients with damaged or diseased tissue. The following video from Christopher Barnatt, shows quite an interesting future of bio printing:

When reviewing the market scene, very often we will find as a front runner Organovo, but there are more than 25 other companies developing bio printing. Strong contenders in this field, besides Organovo, USA are from our point of view:

Envision Tec, Germany with additional US HQ in California
Cyfuse Biomedical; Japan
Regenovo Biotechnology, China
Osteopore International, Singapore
Bio 3D Technology, Singapore
nScrypt Inc., USA
Bespoke Innovations, USA

Not only the commercial interest, but also the new field of medical treatment methods for patients with unmet medical need is very high, and below video will showing surprising applications and results in the field of Bio printing and technology.

Beside the above mentioned companies focusing their activities on 3D bio-printing many companies embraced this tchnology which gives an indication of the global interest in these new 3D bio printing technology.

The global 3D printing market is estimated to reach about 6.0 Bio USD, in 2018. The global bio printing market as a part of the 3D printing market forms already a significant part of the medical device industry and is expected to grow according to TechNavio, at the present basis of CAGR about 14.5 % during the period of 2013 to 2018. The global bio printing market is estimated to be worth approximately US$ 888 million in 2018, compared to about US$ 450 million in 2013.

One of the potential fields of bio printing is that of organ transplants. There are currently over 123,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the US alone. Unfortunately there are more people waiting for organs than there are organs available for transplantation, and the waiting list of patients who need organs grows rapidly each month.

3D bio printing – the fabrication of organs from biomaterials using a 3D printer – could eliminate the need to wait for an organ. If further R&D brings bio printing to its full potential, it will be possible to physically create a functional, safe-for-implantation organ in a matter of days from a body’s own stem cells. As those organs can be produced from the cells of the patient in need, the current risk that exists today of a patient not reacting well to a donor organ and need immunosuppressants, with serious side effects, is thus eliminated too.

The potential for healing people with 3D printing technology is immense, as transplanting organs from one person to another has always been problematic. Virgil Anderson, a patient, from Houston, Texas,  with mesothelioma or asbestosis, draw recently attention to the potential future treatment solution with 3D printing technology. (https://mesothelioma.net/3d-printed-lungs-future-treating-asbestos-illnesses/). This technology could ultimately lead to new lungs and tissues that could mean the difference between life and death. Please also see his additional information and experience with this condition (Mid December 2017) on our website as a guest blogger.

The TechNavio report also outlines that one of the key market drivers of bio printing, may well be in the drug discovery market. In order to test new drugs for its side effects and effectivity, there is a growing demand for animal testing. The development of 3D printed organs and tissues suitable for this type of testing could if not even bring an end, at least a significant reduction, of animal testing.

The high potential in this drug testing segment was recently confirmed as one of the leading bio printing companies Organovo partnered in 2013 with the global Swiss pharmaceutical market player Roche to produce liver tissues, which is helping Roche’s R&D to produce a toxin-free drug.

The results came already back successful as the fabricated livers detected the toxins similarly to how a human liver would. Innovations like this will be a huge factor affecting the market growth of bio printing over the next few years.

Disclaimer:
As we are embedded in Western regulations, not allowing the promotion of not approved medicine or medical treatment, we need to draw your attention to our disclaimer, that we are not promoting any unauthorized medicine nor treatments and that any information given in our web-site had not been reviewed nor approved by FDA / EMA and therefore reflects opinions for educational purpose only.

Sources:

http://www.technavio.com/blog/top-10-3d-bioprinting-companies
http://www.idtechex.com/reports/topics/3d-bioprinting-000073.asp
http://www.inside3dp.com/just-global-bioprinting-market-headed/
http://www.organovo.com/
http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/37270/title/Organs-on-Demand/
http://www.inkpal.com/ink-news/what-is-bioprinting-3d-printing-prosthetics-organs-human-tissue/
http://www.3dprinter.net/china-invests-in-3d-printing
http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/smart-takes/printed-skin-cells-to-treat-burns/