Additive manufacturing i.e. 3D printing is either already used or being seriously considered in the aerospace & defence industry, automobile manufacturing, textile production, medical healthcare devices and computer equipment. It was first used for creating rapid prototypes and was conceived in the 1980’s. Rapid advances in the field have led us to the advent of bioprinting in the 21st century. 3D bioprinting, as the name suggests, is a technique of recreating cells in a confined space with the help of 3D printers. Cell function and viability are preserved through this process which enables its use in either organ replacement or tissue engineering. The 3D bioprinted human tissue market is mainly concerned with the latter. While it has much in common with traditional additive manufacturing, the 3D bioprinted human tissue market has a number of unique characteristics and challenges exclusive to it.
3D Bioprinted Human Tissue Market Drivers
The main driver for the 3D bioprinted human tissue market is expected to be the field of tissue engineering. Tissue engineering is meant to repair or even replace different tissues like bone, blood vessel, cartilage, bladder, muscle, skin, heart etc. Demand for tissue engineering is expected to surge following the shift in focus from stem cell therapy to immune cellular therapies. A second important driver could be the organ replacement market. Medical institutions across the world are facing a severe shortage of organs that can be donated. 3D bioprinting could be used to replace parts of or even the entire tissue, saving countless lives in the process. It would also have the advantage of the transplanted organ being readily accepted, since the patient’s body would not treat the donor’s organ as ‘foreign’. The 3D bioprinted human tissue market could also be relevant in the booming global cosmetic surgery speciality. Patients could download a face scan from the Internet and apply it on their own. People might also want to have their face scanned during their teenage years, and reapply it every few years to appear as a perpetual youth!
3D Bioprinted Human Tissue Market Restraints
While bioprinting is evolving very rapidly, there are still some major challenges which constrain the 3D bioprinted human tissues market, one of which is cell vascularization. 3D bioprinted human tissues would not get enough nutrients, be able to exchange gases or dispose of waste properly without a sound vascular network. This is an issue not only for 3D bioprinted human tissue but also for the 3D printed organ market. An effect of this is low cell viability, which means the tissue cannot be used for anything barring research purposes. Another restraint is the rapid tissue maturation process, where printed organs must be quickly fused, remodelled and matured towards a solid construct. The third critical challenge is the lack of biomaterials available. Bioprinting can only use a handful of materials at present and not all integrate seamlessly with the printing hardware along with possessing all the desired biological properties. These are the main reasons why the 3D bioprinted human tissue market has not been able to achieve its full potential yet.
3D Bioprinted Human Tissue Market Key Regions
North America is the largest 3D bioprinted human tissue market at present and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. This is due to the major 3D bioprinting players being based here, strong government investment in healthcare, massive R&D spending as well as a thriving private sector. The APAC region is anticipated to become increasingly important in the long term due to strong fundamentals. Europe will remain stable and is not expected to post very high growth rates in the 3D bioprinted human tissue market.
3D Bioprinted Human Tissue Market Key Market Players
Key 3D bioprinted human tissue market players include Organovo, Stratasys Ltd., 3D Systems, Inc., SOLS Systems, Youbionic, Materialise NV, Oceanz 3D printing, The Pexion Group, &, and others.
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