3-D printed skin will limit animal testing and benefit burn victims

Recently, scientists at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have developed a technology that can print real human flesh. The human skin is printed with a bioprinter—which is very similar to a 3D printer—that uses bioinks made up of cellular components of skin such as plasma. Similar to how ink prints images, bioinks have the ability, when mixed in a certain way, to produce skin.

Bioprinters are currently capable of printing and forming two different types of skin tissue, both of which have endless opportunities to benefit the world. The first tissue is the basic skin of a human. Having the ability to print this tissue could completely end animal testing because companies could test products on printed skin instead of animal skin.

“The bioprinter has so many amazing uses, but I think it is truly amazing that it has the possibility to stop animal testing,” said junior Fiorella Quintana-Reyna.

The printer can also create skin for a specific individual using their own cells. This tissue can be utilized for burns and other therapeutic needs. The ability to print skin would help many patients suffering from serious skin injuries recover and heal their wounds.

“While the new technology will initially be applied to chronic wounds and burns, it likely will have cosmetic applications in the future in addressing aging skin,” said dermatologist Joshua Zeichner.

The scientists from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have furthered their research by creating blood vessels and synthetic ovaries for mice and hope to eventually print functional organs for humans. Printing human organs would be a huge step in the medical world and would save many lives. If organs could be printed, there would be no more need for organ donors, and transplant patients would have an unlimited supply of organs. The ability to print organs is predicted to take place within the next six years, and will certainly continue to revolutionize society and the medical world for years to come.