Researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a portable glue gun-like device that is a kind of skin printer. It can graft human skin using bio-inks.
The device can 3D print three layers of skin and can treat even the most severe flesh wounds in less than two minutes
It would be of great help to those suffering from burns and deep flesh wounds. At present, these injuries are usually treated by skin grafts, which are associated with many drawbacks, such as tissue shortages and rejections.
Axel Guenther, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Toronto, said, “Most current 3D bioprinters are bulky, work at low speeds, are expensive and are incompatible with clinical application.”
The device is portable and efficient
This portable printer weighs less than 2 lbs. (0.9 kilograms). It can be used to cover large wounds since it is not reliant upon limited patches of skin as in the case of skin grafts. It uses bio-ink that contains skin cells, collagen, and fibrin. Collagen is a protein that allows cells to grow and thrive and fibrin is a protein that aids in blood clotting to help heal wounds.
According to the paper published in the journal Lab on a Chip, scientists have tested the device on mice and pigs. They found that it can repair deep tissue wounds safely and effectively in animals.
More research is planned for the skin printing device, with the eventual goal of testing on humans.