Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Body Prints

From the Manyufacturer, Organovo (so they undoubtedly put the most optimistic spin on things) :
Bioprinters to be available to research community in 2010

SAN DIEGO, Calif. & MELBOURNE, Australia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Invetech, an innovator in new product development and custom automation for the biomedical, industrial and consumer markets, today announced that it has delivered the world`s first production model 3D bio-printer to Organovo, developers of the proprietary NovoGen bioprinting technology. Organovo will supply the units to research institutions investigating human tissue repair and organ replacement.

Dr. Fred Davis, president of Invetech, which has offices in San Diego and Melbourne, said, “Building human organs cell-by-cell was considered science fiction not that long ago. Through this clever combination of technology and science we have helped Organovo develop an instrument that will improve people’s lives, making the regenerative medicine that Organovo provides accessible to people around the world.”

Keith Murphy, CEO of Organovo, based in San Diego, said the units represent a breakthrough because they provide for the first time a flexible technology platform for organizations working on many different types of tissue construction and organ replacement.

“Scientists and engineers can use the 3D bio printers to enable placing cells of almost any type into a desired pattern in 3D,” said Murphy. “Researchers can place liver cells on a preformed scaffold, support kidney cells with a co-printed scaffold, or form adjacent layers of epithelial and stromal soft tissue that grow into a mature tooth. Ultimately the idea would be for surgeons to have tissue on demand for various uses, and the best way to do that is get a number of bio-printers into the hands of researchers and give them the ability to make three dimensional tissues on demand.”
The printer, developed by Invetech, fits inside a standard biosafety cabinet for sterile use. It includes two print heads, one for placing human cells, and the other for placing a hydrogel, scaffold, or support matrix. One of the most complex challenges in the development of the printer was being able to repeatedly position the capillary tip, attached to the print head, to within microns. This was essential to ensure that the cells are placed in exactly the right position. Invetech developed a computer controlled, laser-based calibration system to achieve the required repeatability.

Invetech plan to ship a number of 3D bio-printers to Organovo during 2010 and 2011 as a part of the instrument development program. Organovo will be placing the printers globally with researchers in centers of excellence for medical research.
Still experimental use only - for now. Whether it's 5, 10 or even 15 years away from operational use, we don't know, nor do we know its full capabilities and limitations. That's why it's being shipped to research labs worldwide, to find out.

Hmmm... must check... I think we may have some shares in Invetech. We have a few penny-packets in a number of long-shot high-tech firms in Australia.

The key to success is to find a foreign partner, usually in the USA, to overcome the NIH syndrome.

I know a number of guys though who'd be interested in this. The one great problem FtoMs have is lack of spongy scaffolding for erectile tissue. And that is exactly the kind of thing such a printer of body parts, even a primitive one, would be good at making. A lot of other guys injured in war or accidents would benefit too.

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