Brisbane will soon be home to an Australia-first research institute manufacturing human organs, bones and tissue using advanced technology including 3D printing and robotics.
Metro North Hospital and Health Service and QUT have partnered to create the hospital of the future with a new Biofabrication Institute at the world-class Herston Health Precinct.
Biofabrication is the manufacture of patient-specific tissue to replace or patch broken bones and cartilage and ultimately new organs for transplantation.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said the institute was set to revolutionise modern medicine, saving lives not just in Australia, but around the world.
“This institute, opening in 2017, will catapult Queensland onto the global stage as a leader in medical innovation and technology that will change the face of healthcare,” he said.
“It will also offer exciting opportunities for Australian scientists and clinicians to be employed in cutting-edge research, which will attract significant private sector and philanthropic investment.
“We anticipate that within the next five years, this institute will be attracting $10-15 million in investment each year – yet another demonstration of how Advance Queensland is encouraging investment in innovation in our state.”
Mr Dick said it was exciting to see biofabrication become a reality alongside the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QIMR Berghofer and Herston Imaging Research Facility.
“Over the next decade, the Herston Health Precinct will extend its reputation as a unique world-leading research, healthcare and education hub,” he said.
“The Biofabrication Institute will also complement the nearby $1.1 billion Herston Quarter Redevelopment, which will include a 132-bed Specialist Rehabilitation and Ambulatory Care Centre.
“Our vision for healthcare is that the Biofabrication Institute will pave the way for 3D printers to sit in operating theatres, ready to print tissue as needed, in our hospitals of the future.”
QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake AO said that, after more than a decade of research in the field, biofabrication had become one of QUT’s particular strengths.
“QUT is committed to delivering leading innovation and technology with real world outcomes and benefits and the Biofabrication Institute is an excellent example of this,” Professor Coaldrake said.
QUT Biofabrication and Tissue Morphology Group Associate Professor Mia Woodruff said collaboration was key to attracting national and international interest and expertise.
“This initiative will 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,” she said.
“Our 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 clinic.
“International collaboration will be at the forefront of the Herston Biofabrication Institute building upon our strong links with world renowned research and education centres.”