Earlier this year, Invetech and Organovo embarked on a joint plan to "print" living tissue
(quite different from the more frivolous
3-D printing exploits of other developers
). Then, in April, the U.S. Army and Wake Forest University's Institute for Regenerative Medicine started talking up a skin-printing system that laser-maps a wounded area
, and -- using two "print heads" -- layers the injury with skin cells, collagen, protein and clotting agents. Wake Forest researchers have finally demonstrated the skin-grafting bioprinter prototype
on mice. The Institute's researchers say the finished bio-blend possesses
"a consistency similar to jello -- so that [it] will adhere to the wound," according to FastCoDesign. Yum.
Technology Review reports the initial test mice experienced "advanced healing," with "complete closure" by the third week of recovery. The skin-printer is primarily intended to serve as a battlefield tool, so that injured soldiers can treat wounds that would not ordinarily heal on their own. So, while Canada actively pursues an ice-printing machine
, and Japan focuses on perfume dispenser printers
, Wake Forest seems close to producing a viable healing machine. Chalk one up for Stateside science, baby!