Rarely indeed do I start an article with a direct quote. This one however is so profound that it could potentially affect some seven billion people’s future health prospects:
“We also aim to integrate printed tissue-like materials with living tissues, and to print materials that themselves contain living cells. Our long-term goal is to develop a synthetic-tissue printer that a surgeon can use in the operating theatre. In ten years’ time, the use of pieces of synthetic tissue will be commonplace. The fabrication of complex synthetic organs is a more distant prospect.”
– Professor Hagan Bayley.
Professor Bayley leads a group named OxSyBio, which is a spin-out from Isis Innovation, a business that was established by the world renown Oxford University in 1988 as its wholly owned technology transfer company. Professor Bayley’s statement is in regards to the announcement that OxSyBio has raised some £1,000,000 from IP Group plc, a developer of intellectual property based businesses, subject to the achievement of qualified milestones. The new company will refine and advance the 3D droplet printing technology devised by Professor Bayley’s group at the University’s Department of Chemistry.
OxSyBio will develop 3D printing techniques to produce tissue-like synthetic materials for wound healing and drug delivery. In the longer term the company aims to 3D print synthetic tissues for organ repair or replacement. The group has developed a technique to 3D print synthetic tissue-like materials from thousands of tiny water droplets each coated in a thin film mimicking a living cell’s external membrane, and studding these membranes with protein pores so they act like simplified cells.
Professor Bayley said: “We have been able to print networks of droplets through which electrical impulses can be transmitted in a manner similar to the way cells in the nervous system communicate: the signal moves rapidly and in a specific direction.”
Isis Innovation Managing Director Tom Hockaday enthused: “I am delighted to be working with Isis and IP Group to accelerate the development of our new company, OxSyBio. Our goal is to establish ourselves at the front-line of regenerative medicine. This is the type of technology where science fiction can become science fact and Isis is proud to have been involved in creating a company around Professor Bayley’s vision.”
Alan Aubrey, Chief Executive Officer of IP Group, said: “Synthetic biology and regenerative medicine will be central to the development of healthcare in the 21st century and IP Group is pleased to support OxSyBio as it seeks to develop products that will help to realise the potential of these exciting and growing areas.
The group’s research was featured on the cover page of the famed publication Science in April 2013 and will continue to make headlines and amaze audiences for years to come as the revolutionary regenerative 3D printing technology is further developed.