3D printing and the future of medicine

Jas Coles-Black is a final year medical student, and a Research Community Coordinator at Research Platforms Services at The University of Melbourne where she grows her community in medical 3D printing. As part of the #3DMed initiative, she is an avid proponent of 3D printing in the medical space.

picture1What is 3D printing?

3D printing is a broad term used to describe several additive manufacturing techniques, where structures are built by depositing material layer by layer. This is in contrast to more traditional manufacturing techniques, which involve moulding and manipulating the materials of interest. It has been hailed as ‘the next industrial revolution’ that could fundamentally change the status quo, and the way we practise medicine.

Bioprinting and Regenerative Medicine

Bioprinting is one aspect of 3D printing, and involves combining living cells, biocompatible materials and biochemical substances in order to create tissue-like analogues. This enables the creation of biological and organ substitutes for research and clinical purposes, such as the fabrication of artificial organs for transplantation. 3D printing has been used in regenerative medicine not only to print scaffolds, which can be subsequently seeded with cells, but can also involve printing tissues using actual cells.

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