Healthy Thursday: 3D Printed Liver


Imagine printing an organ for patients who experience organ failure! They aren’t there yet, but this is promising news. “California-based biotech firm Organovo (ONVO) is set to begin selling 3-D-printed liver tissue by the end of the year, part of the growing movement to bring the technology to the medical field.”

So how do you print human tissue?

The process starts when scientists grow human cells from biopsies or stem cells. They then feed the cells into special printers that can arrange them three-dimensionally by cell type in the way that they’d appear in the human body.

Once the cells have been printed in the right arrangement, they begin to signal to one another, fuse and organize themselves into a collective system.

Renard didn’t want to speculate on when the printing of whole organs might become a reality, but many researchers are excited about the possibility and its implications for transplant procedures.

The technology has already been used to make functioning prosthetics and replacement bones. But organs, which comprise many different types of living cells and need nourishment from the circulatory system, are a more difficult proposition. http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/04/technology/innovationnation/3d-printed-organs/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

Once this technology has been perfected, sign me up for a new kidney!

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