St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, is hosting an AdBioFab conference today and opening Australia’s first biofabrication unit next month, with aims to develop the application of medical 3d printing technology.
Biomaterials fabrication, a “combination of nanomaterials science, high-speed data communications and additive manufacturing”, could be able to use a patient’s own cells to create functioning replacement organs, made to fit, according to Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science’s director Gordon Wallace. Wallace believes this could happen as soon as 2025.
"Using a patient's own cells to create this tissue avoids issues of immune rejection," Wallace told AAP. The biofab unit will open next month. It is a collaboration between researchers at St Vincent’s and the ARC Centre For Excellence for Electromaterials Science in Wollongong.
"This will put our scientists and engineers in direct contact with clinicians on a daily basis.
“This is expected to fast-track the realisation of practical medical devices and the reproduction of organs," he said.
The initiative is currently seeking government support, reports the Herald Sun, hoping to build on research carried out overseas to create biomaterials through 3D printing.
"It is happening – these projects are already under way. We are putting the machinery and the people in place to do it right now," Professor Mark Cook, Chair of Medicine and Director of Neurosciences at St Vincent’s, told the Herald Sun.
"We could print out anything: bones, new blood vessels, we could print out other components of tissue once we understand how to make them grow better and create whole new organs."