EMDT_European Medical Device Technology

European Medical Device Technology, Spring 2014

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30 | Spring 2014 European Medical Device Technology emdt.co.uk INNOVATION to test antidotes for biological or chemical assaults, such as the Ebola virus or Sarin. "Miniature lab-engineered, organ-like hearts, lungs, livers and blood vessels— linked together with a circulating blood substitute—will be used both to predict the effects of chemical and biologic agents and to test the effectiveness of potential treat- ments," says Anthony Atala, director of the institute. While experts like Fraunhofer's Borch- ers expect that it will take ten years or more until complex bioprinted structures are approved for use in humans, there will certainly be intermediate steps. "In five years or so, we will have trials for func- tional applications in the human body. For example: skin substitutes with the fatty tissue layer of the sub-cutis," Borchers speculates. Another technology closer on the horizon is being developed at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. Researchers have developed a device that scans the size of burn wounds and prints layers of different kinds of skin cells directly onto the injury. Intended for use in the military, the tech- nology could potentially be ready within five years. While viable research applications of bioprinted tissue and organs are within scientists' sights, the holy grail of the bioprinted, functional organ may not even be too far in the future. Organovo CEO Keith Murphy recently told CNN that the company hopes to enter into clinical trials within five years—at least, for pieces of implanted tissue. Stuart Williams of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute in Kentucky, how- ever, recently said in an interview with the Courier-Journal that he ambitiously aims to create a "bioficial" heart from a patient's own cells within the next 10 years. His research team has implanted parts of hearts in mice already. While it is still uncertain whether we will ever see a fully functional and viable bioprinted organ implanted in a human body, these examples illustrate the poten- tial of bioprinting and the speed at which the technology is advancing. The revoulu- tion might not come overnight, but it may be here within a decade. Bioprinted human liver tissue in three dimensions; Courtesy: Organovo Unimed SA Lausanne, Switzerland phone +41 21 624 21 51 fax +41 21 624 53 32 www.unimed.ch e-mail: info@unimed.ch medical devices needles and probes ES432750_EMDT1405_030.pgs 04.30.2014 22:58 UBM black yellow magenta cyan

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