Recognizing that animal testing for drugs, cosmetics and other products is cruel, expensive and inefficient, firms are moving increasingly toward 3D printed alternatives.  L'Oreal, for example, has begun 3D printing human skin cells to test its cosmetics.

Now n3D is collaborating with L C Sciences and AstraZeneca to create a way to evaluate drug effectiveness on blood vessel constriction and dilation using 3D printed tissue cultures.  According to the 3D Printing Industry article, initial results are promising...

n3D President and CSO Dr. Glauco Souza added: ‘The speed and throughput of our vasoactivity assay sets us apart from other 3D cell culturing and 3D bioprinting techniques, such as the ones from Insphero and Organovo. We are looking forward to this assay becoming the standard in compound toxicity testing and in the development of new vasoactive drugs.’

While this particular technique appears to be focused specifically on "vasoactivity studies," it moves companies one step closer to eliminating animal testing altogether.

The prospect of medical teams being able to print replacement body parts is exciting.  As someone who has experienced reconstructive surgery, the idea that surgeons can perfectly recreate an exact match brings great hope.  Patients would no longer have to rely on artistry and good fortune - or repeated surgeries - to obtain symmetrical, life-like results.

New 3D printing technology created by a team at Wake Forest University in North Carolina is showing great promise reliably printing human tissue and organs. Bioprinting, as it is known, is a big leap for medical technology and is now coming into its own as an effective and beneficial means of healthcare and healing. The bioprinter works similarly to other 3D printers, but instead of printing in metals or plastics, it prints hydrogels containing human cells. What is special about this new printer is that the tissue that it prints is able to accept blood vessels and therefore essentially keep the cells alive. This research is especially exciting for the medical community, which is already looking to the future and the potential that this technology has for us.

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AuthorRenee Eaton