Need a new ear? Technion opens 3D tissue printer for researchers
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Need a new ear? Technion opens 3D tissue printer for researchers

Biomaterial printing center aims to facilitate development of complex tissues and improve their integration into human organs

The 3D printer at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa will help researchers print tissues from ears to blood vessels (Nitzan Zohar, Technion Spokesperson’s Office)
The 3D printer at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa will help researchers print tissues from ears to blood vessels (Nitzan Zohar, Technion Spokesperson’s Office)

A 3D center for the printing of cells, tissues and organs has been set up in the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa to enable researchers to print complex tissues and improve their integration into human organs, the university said.

The 3-D Bio-Printing Center for Cell and Biomaterials, part of the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, is open to all Technion researchers and “will lead the Technion’s tissue engineering research into new areas,” said faculty dean Prof. Shulamit Levenberg, who heads the center, in a statement.

Tissue engineering has made “dizzying progress in recent decades,” the Technion said. It is the field in which a combination of cells, engineering and materials are joined with biochemical and physiochemical factors to create biological tissue that can improve or replace real tissue.

Technion researchers have been at work developing tissues containing blood vessels that quickly connect to the patient’s own blood vessels, engineering a new ear, and creating scaffolds to induce repair of spinal cord injuries, Levenberg said in a phone interview. Scaffolds are typically made of polymeric biomaterials that provide the structural support for cell attachment.

The introduction of the 3D printer will “bring researchers to a new level,” Levenberg said, by allowing them to print cells and biomaterials and form complex tissue structures.

The center is equipped with an innovative printer that enables the printing of three-dimensional scaffolds and the cells themselves that grow into tissue.

The printer, which has several printing heads, is able to translate the information obtained from a patient’s CT scans — for example, the shape of a person’s ear — into three-dimensional tissue that can be suited to an injury area.

Researchers have been working on tissue engineering around the world for a number of years , she said. The 3D printers will help speed up the development process as well as allow the printing of larger, more complicated and more personalized tissues.

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