Australian biofabrication institute to revolutionize hospital healthcare

Australia’s first biofabrication research institute is set to open in the Herston Health Precinct (Australia) in 2017, for imaging, modeling and manufacturing 3D patient-specific tissues.

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Metro North Hospital and Health Service and Queensland University of Technology have partnered to create a biofabrication institute at the Herston Health Precinct (all Brisbaine, Australia), which aims to manufacture patient-specific tissues within the hospital for quick and effective treatment.

The institute will work closely with engineers, clinicians, patients and researchers to produce the tissues. "It will be the first time a biomanufacturing institute will be co-located with a high-level hospital," explained Minister for Health Cameron Dick. "Our vision for healthcare is that the biofabrication institute will pave the way for 3D printers to sit in operating theatres, ready to print tissue as needed, in our hospitals of the future."

The institute, spanning two floors, will include a wide range of capabilities, including tissue engineering, clinical scanning and visualization, 3D modeling and manufacturing, educational spaces and innovation hubs – providing opportunities to develop cutting-edge techniques and technologies, and for other clinicians and scientists to develop their skills in this area.

Queensland University of Technology Biofabrication and Tissue Morphology Group Associate Professor Mia Woodruff explained that the use of autologous cells and US FDA-approved materials for 3D means the tissues should not suffer rejection or immunological issues. "A lot of the implants we are developing, we can implant into a patient and as the tissue grows back, it is not rejected, the scaffold will resorb over time and the tissue will grow even more and eventually the implant is gone.”

The “end game” of the institute is to 3D print patient-specific organs in the hospital for transplantation into patients. Although this possibility is currently a long way off, bringing all the expertise and stakeholders around 3D bioprinting into one location directly inside the healthcare setting with certainly help accelerate this clinical translation of this technology.


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