The process of being able to print human organs is one that has excited researches and scientists for a long time. Work has been carried out with the aim of achieving this goal for years, with researchers making the breakthrough of bio-printing capillaries into 3D form in 2014. This crucial discovery made the possibility of human tissue surviving by itself a reality; however, only recently has a digital manufacturing process been confirmed that allows 3D-printed organs to be formed.

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History-making research

The phenomenal achievement has been made possible by a team at Harvard University, although Sydney University has also been a frontrunner in researching the production of 3D organs. Harvard’s team of researchers used integrated sensors to 3D-print human heart tissue in what has been described as a ‘heart-on-a-chip’. Johan Ulrik Lind, the first author of the report published in October this year, stated: “This new programmable approach to building organs-on-chips not only allows us to easily change and customise the design of the system but also drastically simplifies data acquisition.” The heart is an incredibly complex organ and many studies such as those undertaken by TQT Studies company Richmond Pharmacology will welcome the development of these 3D organs in saving the lives of many heart patients.

What does this mean for the pharmaceutical industry?

One of the most exciting capabilities of the newly-designed embedded sensors is that they allow data to be recorded from multiple tissues over an extended period of time. The information gained from the sensors contains the strength and rate of the heartbeat. As pharmaceutical research can involve various compounds, researchers will be able to study how the tissue responds to drugs and toxic compounds. This should additionally reduce the time and costings involved in the research of diseases.

The possibilities this process will open up for a pharmaceutical services provider are numerous. The advanced technology that is expected to follow will open up a medical world in which data acquisition is simplified and drug screening can be fully functional. This, of course, also impacts training in the pharmaceutical industry.

It is widely believed that the benefits of the chip technology could stretch to drug research, personalised medical remedies and an end to the need for animal testing. It has additionally opened up scientific knowledge and made it more likely for techniques that allow even more medical personalisation to come to fruition.