Right now, more than 120,000 people are on the U.S. organ transplant waiting list. But what if patients could someday receive a 3D-printed organ made from their own cells rather than wait on long lists for the short supply of organ transplants?
Benjamin S. Harrison, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, says "The impossible can be possible". As a respected authority in the field, he strongly suggests that there are limitless possibilities for 3D printing and the duplication of human tissues that can counter the degenerative effects of aging and disease on the human body.
The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine spent the last decade building a 3D printer that can print both an artificial scaffold and living cells at the same time. They're now using it to produce intricate ears, noses, and bones.
Institute scientists there have also designed a bioprinter to print skin cells onto burn wounds. The ability to print cells in three dimensions opened up new applications. By mapping the area, scientists can determine how many cell layers are needed for the subdermal tissue, and the printer can deliver cells more accurately and precisely than other devices.
In addition their 3D printers will also be used to print the tiny organ-like structures that mimic the function of the heart, liver, lung and blood vessels. Placed on a 2-inch (5cm) chip, these structures will be connected to a system of fluid channels and sensors to provide on-line monitoring of individual organs and the overall organ system.
But building solid organs like the heart and the liver is the hardest challenge yet. "We are working on creating solid organ implants", said the insitute scientists. They believe the bioprinting of full size solid organs might not be far away.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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Daniel wrote at 6/4/2014 4:35:00 PM:
That is a Microfab Technologies inkjet printer!
Craig wrote at 3/6/2014 1:39:30 PM: