Gadgets

The ISS is testing a bioprinter gun for printing adhesive plasters from living cells


Application of biological 3D printing technology forwound healing is one of the most promising areas of modern medicine. The use of this technology is especially relevant for participants in long-term space expeditions, since in the course of preparation for a flight, living cells can be taken from astronauts and, on their basis, raw materials for a BioPrint First Aid class printer, which has already begun testing at the International Space Station, can be cultivated.

The BioPrint First Aid machine, developed according toproject of the German Air and Space Center (DLR), was delivered to the ISS in December last year by SpaceX's space transport vehicle. The BioPrint First Aid biological printer has a design that looks like a standard tape gun. The device is provided with a dispenser with biological ink prepared in advance on the basis of astronaut cells. The printer also has a print head and support wheels.


At the first stage of testing on the ISS, instead ofbiological material, a special fluorescent composition is used, which is applied together with a bonding agent to the surface of the astronauts' body, protected by a special foil.

Healing bandage printed withbioprinter, can significantly speed up the process of tissue repair, especially for extensive foci of damaged skin. The composition prepared on the basis of the patient's cells is ideal for healing and will not cause rejection. In space, the process of treatment with BioPrint First Aid is complicated by low gravity, so the implementation of this technique requires thorough testing, which was started by the expedition members.

It should be noted that the German biogun forHealing dressing printing is not the first 3D printer being tested on the ISS for medical purposes. Back in 2018, a 3D printer “Organ.Avt” arrived at the station, developed by the Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions and designed to print living tissues in zero gravity.