Science

Robot that can print 3D human organs

EPA / FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

US software firm Advanced Solutions has developed a robot that can print models of human organs in 3D and thus the potential to revolutionize healthcare. The world’s first 3D human tissue printer is called BioAssemblyBot and is the second generation of 3D printers focused on producing biomedical materials.

The BioAssemblyBot uses touch screen and a laser sensor to navigate its robot arm and nozzle and is operating on software called the Tissue Structure Informational Modeling that allows users to design and visualize the structure of the tissue before BioAssemblyBot replicates it.

The tools we invented are enabling our scientists and customers to advance biology in ways that weren’t possible before, Advanced Solutions president and CEO Michael Golway told CNBC.

The most challenging aspect of the process is bionic, the material used in 3D bioprinting, because it must satisfy mechanical needs of the printing process and contain the elements needed to make the tissue come to life.

Golway said more tests, trials and errors are needed to accelerate the progress and added that, in order to print an actual organ fit for human use, they need a significant amount of money, effort and discoveries.

Advanced Solutions CEO said the company can now print liver cells in a structure the size of a US quarter and combine them with vascularization technology in 3D to get results that begin to mimic a functioning liver. The Kentucky-based company can create mimics for lungs, hearts, kidneys, pancreases, bones and even human skin.

While bioprinting can solve the problem of transplants, printing human organs poses some legal and ethical problems. Golway believes that in the next five years they’ll move from the research side to the clinical side and start developing “functional solutions for the patient.”

The head of Advanced Solutions said he knows there will be a lot of debate over human organs printing but added he is confident once they go to the clinical side “it will be a safe application for patients.”

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