3D printing body parts


Queensland students are set to become pioneers in the 3D printing of human body parts.

The University is offering the world’s first course of its kind and will partner with universities in Woolongong, the Netherlands and Germany to offer an international masters degree in bio-fabrication.

Alexandra Connor reports.

TRANSCRIPT

These master 3D printers at the Queensland University of Technology will ultimately re-create human body parts, including breast, bone and cartilage.

Professor Dietmar W. Hutmacher, QUT Professor: “The challenge for us is to develop these bio-inks that can be processed on these 3D printers but also can be used in the body.”

Students will learn to build tissue with layers of biomaterials, forming a basic support structure for natural tissue growth.

Mia Woodruff, QUT Associate Professor: “The scaffold dissolves over time, the bone regenerates and eventually you’re left with a completely healed defect.”

The planned Masters degree would give students unique opportunities in a young science.

Dr Stephen Beirne, Medical Printing Expert: “This gives prospective students a great insight into what’s required in the real world setting and give them the tools they need to provide a real contribution to this rapidly developing area.”

The technology could also be used to regenerate breast tissue in cancer patients.

Dr Eliza Whiteside, Breast Cancer Survivor: “My dream is that I’ll be putting my hand up as the first person for, well at least in Australia, to actually have this, this type of implant.”

Surgeons expect the new techniques will reduce the number of complications associated with current transplant technology.

Despite rapid developments in this field, the regeneration of entire organs is still decades away.

Professor Dietmar W. Hutmacher, QUT Professor: “With the right investment into the technology and education programs we predict it will be possible in 50 years to regrow organs.”

The international biofabrication degree is set to start next year.

Alexandra Connor, QUT News.


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