Australia-China joint centre for 3D printing biomaterials

With $300,000 in funding, the Queensland government established the Joint Research Centre for the Development of Functional Biomaterials in Advanced Manufacturing of Human Tissues and Organs.

The Centre is a collaboration between researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Shanghai-based researchers, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Researchers will together develop methods for the printing of biomaterials which can be introduced to a body tissue as a medical device or replace an organ. It is estimated that by 2024, the market for biomaterials globally will double, to be worth US$207 billion ($305b).

According to Queensland Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad, the Centre will concentrate on utilising this technology for an ageing population.

“The centre will focus on living tissue replacements to restore the functions of damaged tissues and organs in the treatment of bone and joint disorders, including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, fractures and soft tissue trauma, including wounds.

“By accelerating research in this important field, we can improve the quality of life for all of us as we get older, reducing the burden off our health care systems.,” said Trad.

According to QUT vice-chancellor and president, Professor Margaret Sheil, the Centre’s work is part of a global step up in the manufacture of replacement organs and biomaterials.

“Research progress has reached the stage where we are poised to up the ante with the aim of developing and manufacturing the next generation of biomaterials for bone and cartilage repair, skin regeneration and joint reconstruction.”

Part of the research done by the centre will be to ensure that replacement biomaterials can act in a similar manner to the organs and tissues that they replace.

“The Queensland and Chinese researchers are looking to develop a ‘bioink’ that they can use to engineer scaffolds that can replicate the characteristics of tissues and even organs,” said Sheil.