A team of Spanish researchers developed a prototype of 3D human skin bioprinter “Fully functional”. According to the madrimasd web portal, this skin “is suitable for transplantation and can also be used in research and testing of cosmetic and pharmaceutical products,” as José Luis Jorcano, professor of the Department of Bioengineering at Carlos University, explains to MadridMasD III of Madrid (UC3M) and head of the Biomedical Engineering unit of the Mixed Unit Center for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research (CIEMAT) / UC3M.
In addition to the Carlos III University and CIEMAT, researchers from the Gregorio Marañón University Hospital in Madrid and the BioDan Group company, which will market the product, have also participated in the design of the prototype.
José Luis Jorcano explained that with the 3D human skin bioprinter it is allowed to create skin “in an automated and standardized way, thus improving the reproducibility of the process. Furthermore, it also makes it possible to significantly lower production costs ”.
It is important to note that this prototype is one of the first living human organs created by bioprinting to hit the market. It is an exact replica of a human skin, as it has the outer layer, the epidermis with its stratum corneum, which protects against the external environment, along with a deeper and thicker layer, which is the dermis.
Biotinks, the key to printing skin
In the 3D human skin bioprinter, the key, according to experts, are biotinks. In skin-making technology, instead of cartridges with colored inks, syringes with different components are used.
Juan Francisco Cañizo, researcher at the Gregorio Marañón General University Hospital and the Complutense University of Madrid, “knowing how to mix the biological components, under what conditions to handle them so that the cells do not deteriorate and how to carry out the adequate deposition is the critical part of the system ”. The deposition of these biotinks, patented by CIEMAT and under license from the BioDan Group company, is controlled by a computer and is carried out in an orderly manner on a plate to gradually produce the skin.
The 3D human skin bioprinter It can produce autologous skin, that is, created from the patient’s own cells (which is usually necessary for therapeutic uses) or allogeneic, which is manufactured from cell banks or donors and is the most suitable for testing chemical products, drugs or cosmetics. In both cases it is necessary to extract the cells and culture in the laboratory for several weeks, as explained by José Luis Jorcano.
Currently, the development of this prototype is in the approval phase by different European regulatory entities “to guarantee that the skin produced is suitable for use in transplants to patients with burns and other skin problems”, but the creators hope that ” in a few months the product can be on the market ”, says Alfredo Brisac, CEO of BioDAn Group.
Finally, the researchers hope that, in the future, this machine can also be used to print other types of more complex tissues, such as blood vessels or heart valves.