3D printing accident unlocks biotissue discovery

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Chanice Henry

 US scientists have invented a line of bioactive tissues that could be instrumental for cancer patients and wound healing, after an accident with 3D printing ink inspired the discovery.

Pharmaceutical scientists from Northwestern University in Chicago have discovered a set of bioactive tissue papers that are fine and highly flexible. The tissues are constructed with proteins sourced from various organs – including kidneys, liver, heart and uterus. 

Accidental discovery

The spilling of 3-D printable ovary ink in the lab by Adam Jakus, who developed the tissues, revealed properties that could be utilized in new ways. 

On attempting to mop up the spill, Jakus said: “When I tried to pick it up, it felt strong,” .

“I knew right then I could make large amounts of bioactive materials from other organs. The light bulb went on in my head. I could do this with other organs.” 

The tissues hold their functions when wet or moulded, the paper also supports the culture of adult human stem cells. 

These could be used to regenerate function to other tissues and organs according to the university.

The experts involved predict that the technology could be instrumental to support and accelerate wound healing and prevent scarring. Also they could be utilized to stimulate hormone production in cancer patients.