University of Wollongong experts discuss bioprinting revolution in new book

A new book covering the scientific, engineering and bioethical aspects of bio-printing has been released.

3D BioPrinting: Printing Parts for Bodies contains contributions from experts at the University of Wollongong’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, and was launched yesterday at Questacon, Canberra.

“The whole field of medicine could be upturned by this technology,” co-author Cathal O’Connell said in a statement.

“But at the same time, the hype of 3D printing is often overblown.  We wanted to present the reality, to provide a general audience with an understanding of what the technology is capable of now, and where it’s going in 5 or 20 years.”

Bioprinting is being driven by “a convergence of several revolutionary scientific advances including 3D printing, tissue engineering and biomaterials,” according to the University of Wollongong.

The printing of functioning organs is not yet a reality, however, 3D printed implants of structures such as acetabular hip cups is quite common, and earlier this year Peking University created a vertebra implant for a patient.

UoW’s Professor Gordon Wallace, another co-author, told Fairfax Media at yesterday’s launch that bioprinting had great potential.

"One of our projects at the moment is centred around how we can make 3D prints of the bionic ear,” said Wallace.

“At the moment those technologies, those bionic ears, are made individually and have to be hand crafted, and so the ability to create them through 3D printing would have great advantages".

The book will be available soon on Amazon and is currently available in electronic form at this link.