A novel system can print biological tissue in just 30 seconds. The technology is being used in a large-scale European project to develop a living model of the pancreas for testing new drugs.

The bioprinting technology uses a biological gel containing a patient’s stem cells. A laser is applied to the gel to solidify it through polymerization. The location and intensity of the laser beam can be controlled in order to solidify only those areas of the gel needed to form the desired tissue. It can create tissue in a single block, making it particularly useful for printing soft tissue like organs. Bioprinted tissue can be tailor-made since it’s created from a patient’s own stem cells, and it eliminates the need to conduct animal testing.

The technology could also one day be used to bioprint other kinds of tissue for developing treatments for cancer, for example, or eventually for producing transplant organs.

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