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Bioprinting: science fiction is rapidly becoming science fact

Published on March 11, 2016 Updated on February 28, 2024
Additive manufacturing, which first appeared at Centrale Nantes around twenty years ago, has gradually turned towards medicine with the advent of bioprinting.
Until now research work has been largely focused on the applications of 3D printing in aeronautics and in the automotive and the maritime sectors, all historic fields of expertise in the school. Additive manufacturing has gradually turned towards medicine.

Jean-Yves Hascoët, Dean of Research at Centrale Nantes, started off printing knee and hip prostheses.
He is also working on a hand prosthetics project with UTC and Saint-Antoine Hospital in Paris, which aims to build metallic phalanges from titanium powder. New equipment is currently being purchased and installed within the framework of a CPER (government/regional planning agreement).

But Centrale Nantes is looking further ahead by embarking upon bioprinting, a promising field for the future and no longer the preserve of science fiction. Bioprinting uses 3D printing technologies to print living tissue.

The Centrale Nantes team is working closely with Professor Gilles Blancho, Head of Itun* and of the IHU Cesti, at Nantes University Hospital and Professor Jean-Michel Serfaty of the Institut du Thorax**, also at Nantes University Hospital. Their collaboration led to the conclusion that it was necessary to acquire a bioprinter to dispense cells. Several such machines exist around the world, but none were available on the market. Nothing is impossible for determined minds - Centrale Nantes and the Nantes University Hospital teams decided to build the machine themselves. This much anticipated machine is due to be assembled in March 2016 and installed on the Centrale Nantes campus. The geographical proximity of the school and the hospital will enable daily exchanges between the two teams, one growing cells at the hospital and the other manufacturing the elements on site.

Further developments to come ...


*Itun: Institute of Transplantation - Urology - Nephrology . Itun aims to develop research activity in close association with its healthcare and teaching remit. With a staff of over 300, Itun is today one of the leading European liver transplant centres (5000th transplant  reached in 2015), one of the leading French centres for double transplants of the liver and pancreas and amongst the European leaders for pancreas transplants. The institute has a track record of medical firsts, particularly in the area of immunointervention. Based on this culture in Transplant immunointervention, IHU Cesti (Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire, Center of Transplant and Immunotherapy Sciences) is devoted to extending its expertise in immunology to other innovative Biotherapies: Cell and Gene therapies. 

**Institut du Thorax (Thorax Institute) provides comprehensive healthcare in a major area of public health - cardiovascular, thoracic and metabolic diseases. The extensive treatment available includes heart and lung transplants as well as artificial hearts. The creation of the institute in 2004 confirmed the pivotal role played by clinical and fundamental research in boosting support for innovation and quality of care. Over 800 staff are involved in the institute's operations. Two years after opening, the institute was awarded the CRTS (topic centre for research and care) label following a joint call to tender from the Ministries of Health and Research. It is one of only five CTRS centres in France. The institute is a member of leading international networks of excellence.
Published on March 11, 2016 Updated on February 28, 2024