Printing of bone, graftable human tissue and solid organs at the Herston Biofabrication Unit, Queensland

Monday, 22 May, 2017

Printing of bone, graftable human tissue and solid organs at the Herston Biofabrication Unit, Queensland

An Australian-first research institute that will ultimately manufacture human organs, bones and tissue using advanced technology including 3D printing and robotics will be established in Brisbane this year.

Metro North Hospital and Health Service and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have partnered to create the new Biofabrication Institute on the world-class Herston Health Precinct.

Biofabrication offers the opportunity to print or manufacture implantable or graftable human tissue, bone and solid organs on demand, making future healthcare more personalised.

Metro North HHS Executive Director, Operations Shaun Drummond said the Herston Biofabrication Institute would open in the latter half of 2017 and occupy two floors of Building 7 on the Herston Health Precinct.

“The Biofabrication Institute will be located at the junction of the precinct’s clinical and research zones, sitting alongside the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Queensland Institute of Medical Research Berghofer and Herston Imaging Research Facility,” Drummond said.

“This is the first time a biofabrication centre has been located at a Queensland hospital. It will provide a direct link between the scientists and biomedical engineers in the lab and the doctors at the hospital.”

The location also provides immediate opportunities for scientists and clinicians to be employed in cutting-edge research, which will attract significant private sector and philanthropic investment.

Associate Professor Mia Woodruff, leader of QUT’s Biofabrication and Tissue Morphology Group, said the Biofabrication Institute will initially bring together around 50–60 researchers, clinicians, industry and entrepreneurs at one of the largest health, teaching and research precincts in Australia to develop technologies and practices to really impact patient quality of life.

“The research team is already well advanced in developing 3D tissue replacements and we are excited to engage with clinicians and industry alike to translate these to the clinics,” A/Prof Woodruff said.

“International collaboration will be at the forefront of the Herston Biofabrication Institute building upon our strong links with world-renowned research and education centres.”

Drummond said that as well as significant benefits for patients, the institute will bring economic benefits including the creation of a new industry around advanced manufacturing of medical devices and tissues.

Metro North and QUT received funding last year from MTP Connect to investigate setting up the Biofabrication Institute.

Negotiations with major industry and philanthropic funding sources to support the fit-out and research are also underway.

It’s expected that within five years, the Herston Biofabrication Institute will be attracting several million dollars per year in research grants, and philanthropic and industry support.

The Biofabrication Institute will also enhance the Herston Health Precinct’s global reputation as a leader in medical innovation, research, technology and education by complementing the nearby $1.1 billion Herston Quarter Redevelopment, which will include a 132-bed Specialist Rehabilitation and Ambulatory Care Centre.

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