Scientists at Madrid's Carlos III University develop a bio-printer which reproduces human skin capable of producing its own collagen. Omar Younis reports.
These Spanish scientists are making human skin using a 3D bio-printer. Engineered skin was the first living human organ available commercially but its production can be expensive and time-consuming. This research at Madrid's Carlos III University could one day lead to the mass production of skin. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) HEAD OF THE CIEMAT/UC3M BIOENGINEERING DEPARTMENT, JOSE LUIS JORCANO, SAYING: "The idea of applying 3D bio-printers for the creation of human tissue and organs is a real breakthrough because it has changed the way people in this field think because until now we have been doing it manually. Being able to use a bio-printer to control the amount of skin over time and space gives us new possibilities that were unimaginable when we worked manually." To bio-engineer skin on a 3D bio-printer, the key component is "bio-ink," a substance loaded with biological components such as plasma containing human skin cells. Using a computer, scientists deposit these "bio-inks" on a print bed to form the skin. Although years away, scientists believe the technology could be used to bio-engineer more complex human organs. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) HEAD OF THE CIEMAT/CARLOS III UNIVERSITY MIXED UNIT, BIOENGINEERING PROFESSOR AND BIO-PRINTER CO-CREATOR, JOSE LUIS JORCANO, SAYING: "The idea for the future would be to be able to fully print complex organs such as hearts or kidneys but as I said, that's the desire and the dream all of us who work in this field have, but there is no date for it yet." The scientists say their prototype can produce 100 cm2 of 3D printed skin in less than 35 minutes.