A group of researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon and the Center For Energy, Environment and Technological Research have worked together to create a prototype 3D bioprinter capable of printing out synthetic skin.
The skin looks and feels almost identical actual human skin, providing the necessary layers needed to provide the same level of protection that human skin could offer. It can produce collagen to give the skin its strength via a layer of fibroblast cells, as well as stay protected with two thick dermis-like external layers.
Printed skin could be used in a number of transplants to help treat burn victims and even be used for testing hazardous chemicals and products. This is an amazing breakthrough because the printer could mean the end of animal testing. From a batch of cells, synthetic skin can be produced in bulk for chemical testing and create a much more ethical and cost-effective way of testing how corrosive a particular product is.
Skin transplants will still require cells from the person receiving the transplant to prevent their body from rejecting the printed skin, but this technology could help treat millions quickly without the need of a compatible donor.