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Chapter 12

HSS 3332 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: 3D Printing, 3D Bioprinting, Drug Discovery

Health Sciences
Course Code
HSS 3332
Sarah Fraser

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The Shape of Things to come: 3D Printing in Medicine
What is 3D printing?
3D printing is a manufacturing technique by which objects are built from digital data in a
way analogous to how computer text is printed on a page
o Has been used to build everything from rockets to houses to guns to other 3D
Capabilities are limited only by access to a low-cost 3D printer, a set of digital blueprints
and some ingenuity
A technology that is based on the concept of ‘additive’ manufacturing that is, 3D
printing builds structures by depositing material layer by layer
3D printing is flexible and can create a myriad of structures in a variety of materials, in
nearly any shape or size; capable of using components as carried as ceramics, sandstone,
and chocolate
Bridge between digital 3D models and the physical world
How might bioprinters facilitate drug discovery?
Technology is advancing quickly to create tools to facilitate drug discovery
Tiny microcisms of organs can be printed onto an in vitro substrate, where they are
exposed to potential drugs
Using these ‘mini organs’ the effects of drugs and drug toxicity on human tissues may be
observed without conducting in vivo studies
o “Body on a chip” project is combining bioprinting with microfluidics, which if
successful could lead to extremely high-throughput drug screening
Exploring the possibility of using 3D printers to build biocompatible scaffolds with
porous microstructures embedded with differentiation and growth factors; scaffolds can
then be seeded with stem cells to regenerate organs with the microscopic and
macroscopic characteristics of a normal organ
As this technology spreads, what critical questions need to be addressed by research
(concerning safety and regulatory processes)?
Critical questions accompany the broad application of 3D printers in medicine
Unclear the ultimate value of 3D printing for health and how it will be specifically affect
outcomes; preoperative planning, education, or patient communication
Pathway to ensuring the safety of these devices remains unclear
o Will previously cleared devices need additional oversight when produced by 3D
printing? Many versions of a printable medical device may exist; will they all be
subject to oversight as separate devices?
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