Scientists at Cardiff University from the US have created a 3D bioprinter capable of creating human tissue samples. A multidisciplinary team of engineers and biologists, using Lego parts, worked on the creation.
3D bioprinting technology involves loading “bioink”, which contains living cells, into a cartridge. It, in turn, is then loaded into the bioprinter. Once programmed, the bioprinter prints cell-filled bioink to form 3D structures that aim to replicate the complex formation of biological tissue.
Bioprinters allow scientists to grow cells in three dimensions. And it better replicates the complex architecture of human biology. In other words, bioprinting technology allows researchers to create more comparable models for studying healthy and diseased tissues.
Previously, designer parts were already used to create traditional 3D printers. They are not very expensive, versatile and manufactured with high precision from standardized parts available all over the world.
Scientists began work on the printer in a laboratory in Cardiff, using standard Lego bricks, their mechanical sub-brand Lego Mindstorms and a laboratory pump. A car made of Lego in different sizes and colors.
Currently, the bioprinter is used to create layers of skin cells, which makes it possible to imitate both healthy and diseased skin, revise existing treatments and develop new ones.
In the future, this bioprinter could not only provide an accurate representative model of human skin, but could also be used to add diseased cells to healthy models that scientists produce.
This model costs $625. The printer is still being refined.