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Photo: QUT

Printing 3D body parts the future for an ageing population

Australian and Chinese scientists have received a funding boost for their quest to build body parts using 3D printing technology.

The Joint Research Centre for the Development of Functional Biomaterials in Advanced Manufacturing of Human Tissues and Organs, which is led by the Queensland University of Technology, will boost collaboration between leading scientists and industries in Queensland and Shanghai in tissue and human organ engineering.

Last week, the Queensland government announced it would contribute $300,000 to the research, which could have huge implications for ageing populations worldwide.

“Queensland’s older population is expected to grow by 68 per cent over the next 10 years, and about a third of China’s population will be over 60 by 2050,” said Queensland deputy premier Jackie Trad.

“By accelerating research in this important field, we can improve the quality of life for all of us as we get older, reducing the burden off our healthcare systems.

“The centre will focus on living tissue replacements to restore the functions of damaged tissues and organs in the treatment of bone and joint disorders, including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, fractures and soft tissue trauma, including wounds.”

QUT vice-chancellor and president Professor Margaret Sheil said the establishment of the joint research centre was largely the result of six years of successful research collaboration between QUT and Shanghai researchers, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“The Queensland and Chinese researchers are looking to develop a ‘bioink’ that they can use to engineer scaffolds that can replicate the characteristics of tissues and even organs,” said Sheil.

“This is brilliant science, holding up hope for millions of people suffering from arthritic pain and age-related injuries. In addition, there is also the economic benefit with growing demand globally for biomaterials.”

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