US Army West Point Academy cadets are actively developing bioprinters for printing individual body parts using stem cells. We are talking about blood vessels, meniscus cartilage and other small fragments.
Now 26 cadets in five teams are working on three projects. The first two teams are developing bio-bandages for the care of burns and wounds. They will be printed by medical teams using cells from wounded soldiers. The resulting bio-wraps are then combined with 3D-printed skin and stem cells to create a fast-healing dressing.
The other two teams are busy building blood vessels. This project is useful in and of itself, as the vessels are needed in many situations, both combat and non-combat. But it is also seen as an intermediate step in the creation of printed hematopoietic organs.
The fifth team is developing a working meniscus, a large cartilaginous fragment located between the femur and tibia. The sixth group got the most ambitious project - liver printing.
The peculiarity of bioprinters is that they mainly use ink based on collagen - a protein that the human body produces from stem cells.
At this stage, the project is exclusively at the research level. However, it is possible that in the future, mobile bioprinters will become a mandatory accessory of mobile hospitals to help wounded soldiers.