The Herston Biofabrication Institute makes it possible to scan, model and manufacture patient specific 3D-tissues. The institute, located in Queensland, Australia, offers Australian researchers and clinicians the possibility to focus on advanced techniques and research. The institute is the result of a collaboration off Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the Metro North Hospital and Health Service.
Two floors in the Herston Health Precinct
The institute is located on two floors of the QUT, which has its place on the site of the Herston Health Precinct. The Herston Health Precinct houses several research and health institutions. The Biofabrication Institute will be the first of its kind located inside a hospital.
The two floors offer physicians, researchers, engineers, nurses and scientist places to collaborate. This way, multidisciplinary teams have a place to work together on developing 3D-tissues. The institute offers a range of possibilities including tissue engineering, clinical scanning and visualisation, 3D modelling and manufacturing, educational spaces and innovation hubs.
Biofabrication of implants
Biofabrication combines advanced fabrication techniques with biological systems to prepare designed tissue constructs. These can be used to recreate the tissue of broken bones or cartilage, made with, for example, a 3D-printer.
QUT, one of the founding partners, has already made the first steps into this field. They use cells of patients to create 3D-tissue. This technique makes sure that the recreated cells don’t get rejected by the patient’s body. The new tissue grows at the same rate normal tissue does, and it eventually becomes a normal part of the patient’s body. This would make metal implants redundant.
The expectations for the institute are high-strung. It is expected that the institute paves the way for more frequent use of 3D-printers, even in operating rooms. The main goal for the institute is being able to 3D-print organs. This would drastically shorten waitlists. The collaboration between surgeons, researchers, scientists and even patients should offer the best environment to take this step.