Human Skin Printer

Advanced Reconstructive Skin Technology

Human Skin Printer - Advanced Reconstructive Skin Technology

James Yoo of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina has designed a printer that can scan a human burn, analyze it, create a 3D reconstruction, and then print restorative skin cells in less than an hour. The project that replaces ink with skin cells, and paper with the human body is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense in an effort to find a faster way to repair battlefield burns. This technology has prompted other scientists, such as Hod Lipson, a Cornell University engineer, to experiment with similar bioprinting technology for organs. Lipson has found a way to grow organs as cells on a scaffold before using a 3D printer to print them. So far, his team has successfully printed cartilage, the meniscus for an injured knee, and an ear. Vladimir Mironov from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston believes that bioprinted organs could be used for drug discovering and transplants; ultimately saving money on health care. Yoo expects skin printing to be ready within a few years, and become standard burn repair within twenty. Organ printing however, is still in the developmental stages: “printers will only produce meat flavored Jell-O until the anatomy of different structures is better understood,” state speakers at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Science.


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