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Research centre leads 3D bioprinting revolution

Posted in: News, RMIT

Research centre leads 3D bioprinting revolution

Research centre leads 3D bioprinting revolution
The purpose-built research facility is the first of its kind in Australia. Image courtesy of RMIT.

RMIT is a key partner in a revolutionary biomedical research centre bringing health professionals, academics and industry together to take bionic research to the next level.

BioFab3D@AMCD is Australia’s first robotics and biomedical engineering centre embedded within a hospital.

The $5 million purpose-built research facility aims to bring the best surgeons, biomedical engineers, biologists and robotics experts together under one roof to pioneer innovations such as re-engineered limbs, muscles, tissues and nerves.

The centre will help teams explore the real-time development and production of replacement body parts, which can be surgically implanted into patients.

RMIT has joined partners St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, University of Melbourne, University of Wollongong and Swinburne University of Technology in establishing the facility.

Professor Peter Coloe, Pro Vice-Chancellor Science, Engineering and Health and Vice-President, said the collaborative partnership enabled RMIT to remain at the forefront of the 3D bioprinting  revolution.

“At RMIT, we want to contribute to understanding and solving the biggest challenges faced by industry and the community, so our research can make a real impact,” Coloe said.

“Working closely with industry and medical specialists, our researchers were able to develop Australia’s first 3D-printed spinal implant.

“It’s this kind of vital collaboration that BioFab3D@AMCD will support, pulling together not just the best research minds but top clinicians and industry partners, who all share the same vision of transforming the lives of patients through pioneering biomedical engineering innovations.”

Research centre leads 3D bioprinting revolution
The research facility aims to bring the best surgeons, biomedical engineers, biologists and robotics experts together under one roof. Image courtesy of RMIT.

Multi-disciplinary teams at the centre will work towards building biological structures such as organs, bones, brain, muscle, nerves and glands: almost anything that needs repair because of disease or physical trauma.

RMIT academics led by Senior Lecturer Dr Richard Williams, from the School of Engineering, are working on a project that could one day see 3D-printed tissue and fabricated artificial organs become a reality.

“Our vision is this will eventually lead to real-time printing of 3D implants, while a patient is in surgery,” Williams said.

“The possibilities are endless and through this new centre, we now have even more advanced equipment that will assist in accelerating our research.”

Run as a not-for-profit initiative, the BioFab3D@AMCD laboratory forms an integral part of St Vincent’s planned medical discovery hub, the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery.

The proposed Aikenhead centre would continue developing biomedical solutions, and would be built on the corner of Nicholson Street and Victoria Parade for $180 million.

St Vincent’s Deputy Foundation Director Katerina Kantalis said: “This hub will fuse medicine, engineering, science and industry to yield powerful economic, patient and healthcare outcomes.”

The BioFab3D@AMCD is now open, with the last few pieces of leading-edge equipment to be delivered in coming months.

Story: Aeden Ratcliffe