Herston Health Precinct to become first hospital to print human tissue

A bio-fabrication institute will image, model and manufacture 3D patient-specific tissues under one roof, has been announced at Herston Health Precinct.

Two floors at the Herston Health Precinct will be converted into space where researchers, engineers, doctors, nurses and scientists could collaborate on how 3D tissues could improve a patient’s quality of life, in a partnership between QUT and Metro North Hospital and Health Service partnership.

Minister for Health Cameron Dick said bio-fabrication was a field that brought together medicine, science, engineering and in some ways science fiction to find solutions to problems by manufacturing individual tissue to replace or patch broken bones or cartilage.

“It will be the first time a biomanufacturing institute will be co-located with a high-level hospital,” he said.

“Our vision for health care is that the bio-fabrication institute will pave the way for 3D printers to sit in operating theaters, ready to print tissue as needed, in our hospitals of the future.”

The institute would have a wide range of capabilities across the two floors, including tissue engineering, clinical scanning and visualization, 3D modeling and manufacturing, educational spaces and innovation hubs.

Mr. Dick said the institute would offer opportunities for Australian scientists and clinicians to be employed in cutting-edge research.

QUT Biofabrication and Tissue Morphology Group Associate Professor Mia Woodruff said the cells used in 3D printing were taken from the patient to make sure the 3D tissue was not rejected, with all materials FDA approved.

“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,” she said.

“We don’t always have to use metallic implants anymore, we can develop really high-spec composite materials that dissolve as the tissue heals.”

Professor Woodruff said the “End game” at the institute would be to 3D print an organ.

 

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