Will 3D printing be the final answer to the serious shortage of transplanted organs
Abstract: the guardian pointed out in an article that how far are we from 3D bioprinting human organs? Can this technology solve the shortage of transplanted organs? Scientists are trying to use 3D printers to make alternative human organs. However, although the possibilities of this technology are exciting, there are already concerns that it will allow humans to "play the role of God"
the guardian pointed out in an article that how far are we from 3D bioprinting human organs? Can this technology solve the shortage of transplanted organs? Scientists are trying to use 3D printers to make alternative human organs. However, although the possibilities of this technology are exciting, there are already concerns that it will allow humans to "play the role of God"
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erikgatenholm first saw a 3D biological printer in early 2015. At that time, his father, Paul, Professor of chemistry and biopolymer technology at Chalmers University of technology in Gothenburg, bought one for his family. Its price is about $200000. "My father said, 'this thing can print human organs,'" Kato Holm recalled, still amazed. "After I said, 'nonsense!' it printed out a small cartilage. It was not cartilage, but it looked like it might be cartilage. At that moment, I thought, 'it's really cool!'"
Kato, who owned an ordinary 3D printer for a long time, applied for 28 Chinese patents. Holm was thinking that he wanted to do something in the field of 3D bioprinting. His accent may be a bit strange - he grew up in Sweden and the United States, and his father was a visiting professor in the United States - but his goals and ambitions were well thought out. Kato Holm founded his first biotechnology company at the age of 18. At that time, he realized that if the machine had the potential to print organs, as his father said, it had the potential to completely change the medical industry
there is a shortage of organs for life-saving transplantation all over the world. For example, in the UK, you have to wait an average of 944 days for a kidney transplant through the National Health Service (NHS). The liver, lungs and other organs are also in short supply. The lack of transplanted tissue is estimated to be the leading cause of death in the United States. In the United States, there are about 900000 deaths each year, or one third of them, which can be avoided or delayed by organ or engineered tissue transplantation. It is conceivable that the demand for organ transplantation is extremely large
cellink's two co founders Eric gartenholm and Hector Martinez
gartenholm's father introduced him to hector Martinez, a student studying for a doctorate in tissue engineering, and ivantournier, another student who also participated in the collective discussion. "We were talking about some experiments." Kato Holm, 27, said
"So I said to them, 'why don't we buy the printing ink we need?' Ivan said, 'you can't buy it without ink.' I said, 'what do you mean?' this is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. There are a lot of printers on the market, just buy ink. He said, 'no, you don't understand what I mean, you can't buy ink. You have to make it yourself, you have to mix something in.' then I said, "Then make your own ink!"
cellink was born in january2016 when the inspiration suddenly flashed. Although the technology is a science fiction thing, its business philosophy is similar to the classic "razor and blade". In this time-honored model, you actually give away the razor and make money repeatedly through the interchangeable blade. The same is true for inkjet printers: as we all know, the real money is to replace the ink box
in the field of bioprinting, Kato Holm and Martinez developed the world's first standardized bio ink (bioink) and put it on the market: it is mainly made of a material called nano cellulose alginate, which is partially extracted from algae. If you have a 3D bio printer, the ink is a ready-made product that you can buy directly
cellink's influence is remarkable, especially considering that it is only a short time ago. The company has won a series of innovation and entrepreneurship awards, as well as funding from the Swedish version of the reality show dragons' den. Just 10 months after its establishment, Kato Holm entered the stock market and was listed on the NASDAQ firstnorth market. Its IPO (initial public offering) was oversubscribed at a staggering 1070%
when I met with tengholm in Gothenburg, he seemed to be thinking about how to make use of the company's newly obtained funds when he saw that the new water-based adhesive scheme had obvious advantages in the following aspects: good adhesion, long storage time, flexible viscosity and safer operating environment. Cellink's office was in chaos: there was a piece of iron on the ground, and a suit coat was hung on the nail, so that he could attend the temporary customer meeting. He and Martinez, 32, usually work 16 hours a day. "The sofa is very comfortable to lie on." Kato Holm laughed. His office actually has no place to sit down. Cellink's staff team expanded too fast. Kato Holm and Martinez had to give their seats to new employees. "We are donating them to science." Kato Holm said with a wry smile
but Kato Holm is very clear that this is the era of bioprinting. "As an entrepreneur, you always have to look for blue oceans." He said, "entrepreneurs always ask, 'where is a new field for you to become its synonym? Can you occupy it?' I think bio ink and bio printing are such new fields."
he shook his head in disbelief and said, "no one has ever made biological ink before!"
Kato Holm is happy to admit that bioprinting is a surreal concept, which will cause some ethical concerns. Its working principle is very similar to the common 3D printing: you first use a computer program to make a virtual form of what you want to make, and then let the printer print it into a finished product bit by bit. However, unlike ordinary 3D printers that can only print inanimate objects such as jewelry, statuettes and auto parts, biological printers bring the possibility of creating living tissues
at the beginning, this may mean printing skin or cartilage, which are relatively simple structures and simple to grow in vitro. However, the pioneers of the technology believe that eventually they will be able to build complex organs from scratch, such as the heart and liver. These organs may then be used for human transplantation
research around the world
scientists and commercial companies around the world are involved in such projects. In fact, some kind of competition has already started. Organovo of Santiago has entered this field since 2007, and has achieved some success in printing liver, kidney and heart muscle. In 2015, it announced a cooperation with cosmetics giant l'or é al to provide 3D printed skin. Their ultimate goal is to eliminate the need for animal testing
L'Oreal is investing a lot of resources to develop bioprinting projects. Last September, the company revealed that its scientists were also cooperating with poietis, a French startup. The goal this time is to create synthetic hair follicles. The project is actually extremely complex: each hair follicle has more than 15 different types of cells, involving a cycle of fiber production that requires catalytic stimulation in a test tube
many people have made attempts in this field, and they all failed in the end. But L'Oreal and poietis believe they are close to conquering the project. The key lies in the bio printer developed by poietis: most machines squeeze out bio ink through nozzles; Their machine uses a laser that stores cells one by one. It can drop 10000 drops per second without damaging the cells at all. "The way it works is actually very simple, similar to inkjet printing." Fabienguillemot, CEO and chief scientific officer of poietis, explained in the video announcing the cooperation that "by continuously stacking cell droplets layer by layer on a surface, it can print 3D structures. In this use case, it is to print biological tissues."
poietis calls its innovative technology 4D bioprinting. "The fourth dimension is time." Said Guillermo. "Because our laser assisted bioprinting technology can basically print one cell at a time, it enables us to guide the interaction between cells and their environment until they form the biological functions we want."
in the medium and short term, L'Oreal hopes that its sunscreen and anti-aging essence will become more effective, because it can now continuously test products on a material that can react like human skin. Perhaps, in the future, your hair will become more shiny and bright after using its shampoo. However, it is obvious that the influence of such technologies may be far beyond the cosmetics area in the supermarket
if the skin can be printed in the laboratory, it is not difficult to think that it will be used to treat severely burned skin. At present, skin transplantation is the most common treatment for skin burns, but it can lead to bleeding and infection, and the recovery time is usually long
at the same time, the development of synthetic hair follicles seems to lay the foundation for commercial products or transplants that can reduce hair loss. "Obviously, our future goal is to be able to use the hair follicle system created in the test tube to test innovative molecules," said Jos é cotovio of L'Oreal's research and innovation department, "and to improve our understanding of the key processes behind hair aging, hair loss, hair growth and other phenomena."
this is just the tip of the iceberg - other researchers are exploring how to make human organs. "Bioprinting is of great benefit to humans." Kato Holm said, "you will die because your organs will deteriorate. That's why you will die. If we can start replacing the organs in our bodies, we may be able to prolong our life... That's cool!"
we are still far from making these R & D a reality. But the difference is not very far: Kato Holm believes that bioprinting skin may be realized in five years. "Within 10 years, we will begin to see some cases of cartilage implantation, whether it is partial cartilage or the whole cartilage." "Organ replacement can be achieved in our lifetime," he said He added with a smile, "it can be achieved in our lifetime."
inevitably, bioprinting has raised some ethical concerns. They include: worrying about the quality and effectiveness of artificial skin and implants, referring to