The US Army is hoping to soon begin clinical trials with 3D-printed skin. The goal is helping soldiers better recover from injuries sustained in battle—and the Army also actively developing artificial 3D printed hearts, blood vessels, and other organs.
It's no secret that 3D-printed human tissue is in the works, but the Army's technology is so far along that it could soon be battle ready. In the latest issue of Army Technology, an official publication of the US military, Army researchers claim that the future of medicine is customizable, available on-demand, and 3D printed.
"The scars that soldiers develop as a result of burns constrict movement and disfigure them permanently," Michael Romanko, a doctor with the Army's Tissue Injury and Regenerative Medicine Project told the magazine. The initiative to restore high-quality skin that is elastic and complete with sweat glands, appropriate pigmentation, and hair follicles is incredibly important. Everyone has a different type of energy, and not everyone's skin injury looks the same. Skin bioprinting would provide a scalable form of personalized medicine."
Here's how it works, according to Wake Forest University's Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where much of this research is taking place:
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