Nov 3, 2015 | By Kira

Last March, we wrote about Professor Vladimir Mironov’s 3D printed medical breakthrough: the world’s first 3D printed transplantable organ, to be used on a mouse. This week, it was reported that not only did the mouse thyroid transplant surgery go relatively smoothly, but that the 3D printed thyroid gland is completely functional. The news has exciting implications for the future of medicine, Russian scientists, along with the rest of the world, set their sights on 3D printing functional human organs next.

Mironov is a tissue engineer and the scientific director at 3D Bioprinting Solutions, a Russian laboratory of biotechnology research that is dedicated to advancements in 3D bioprinting and medical applications of 3D printing, that could eventually see us 3D printing life-saving organs for us in complex transplant surgeries. Though they decided to start with the thyroid, a relatively simple organ, the success of this surgery opens them up to the possibility of 3D bioprinting kidneys, which could be reality as early as 2018, and 3D printed livers by 2019. However, the 3D printed thyroid is an important creation itself. the WHO estimates that 665 million people worldwide are affected by thyroid disorders, with 140,000 in Russia alone. While in some cases of thyroid diseases, patients can undergo a thyroidectomy, the surgical removal of the gland, those with thyroid dysfunctional caused by cancer cannot be treated with parhmacological therapy, nor with donor organ transplantation. This is because patients must receive immunosupression therapy that can actually speed up the development of cancer cells. However, Andrey Polyakov, head of the microsurgery department at the Moscow Oncology Research Institute, said that the transplantation of 3D printed organs and tissues shows great promise because it can be conducted without immunosuppression.

The Bioprinter they use consists of a robot that can move in three directions. It is equipped with an automatic syringe that drips fabric layers consisting of living cells. “We had some difficulties during the study, but in the end the thyroid glad turned out to be functional,” said Dmitri Fadin, Development Director at 3D BioPrinting Solutions. They have already announced that given the great success of this surgery, they will be experimenting with 3D printing human thyroids as early as possible.

Though 3D bioprinting advancements may seem to be moving at a slower pace than other 3D printed medical devices, such as prosthetics or bone implants, it’s not for lack of interest. In fact, 3D bioprinting is one of the most exciting and sought after research fields around the world, due to the massive, life-saving impact it could have on human health care. Along with the successful 3D printed thyroid transplant surgery, recent developments include China’s Revotek, the first 3D printer capable of 3D printing blood vessel systems. Over at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, researchers are taking the first steps towards actual 3D printed hearts: they’ve created non-living replicas of coronary arteries and embryonic hearts in soft materials, using a specially modified 3D printer.

The full results concerning the functionality of the 3D printed thyroid gland construct will be reported at the Biofabrication conference, taking place from November 7-9 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Nicole wrote at 5/31/2019 5:27:28 AM:

I had a full thyroidectomy ten years ago and still have not found a thyroid medication I can tolerate without terrible side effects. I would happily travel to Russia (or anywhere) for this transplant surgery if and when it becomes available. I would pay out of pocket if insurance doesn't cover it. Please put my name on this list. Thank you so much.

Julie R wrote at 4/12/2019 2:48:15 AM:

Dr. Mironov if you ever see this you can test the first human thyroid transplant on me :) !!! Ever since my thyroidectomy my life has literally been hell. For everyone out there with thyroid disorders please do not get a thyroidectomy unless you need it due to cancer!

Tracy Wilhelm wrote at 3/10/2019 2:33:53 AM:

I need help. My thyroid is gray in color and has scaring all over it according to my endocrinologist. We can never get my medication right. I am hypothyroidism and used to be hyperthyroidism. I feel terrible and have no energy.

April wrote at 2/20/2019 6:59:45 PM:

My life is hell - I have taken all combos of thyroid meds with little improvement to how I am feeling. I had thyca with a tt in 2016. The constant med changes and blood draws just to have my hair fall out, feel tired and achy all the time has made my life unliveable. please find a way to make thyroid transplants a go!

Chira Isabela wrote at 1/26/2018 6:32:33 PM:

Oh ,if I live thet .... No words for thet...

lidor wrote at 1/4/2018 10:30:40 PM:

How close are we to human thyroid transplant now please? 4.1.18

Rachel wrote at 12/15/2017 5:02:09 PM:

Just hearing that someone is finally taking an interest in a thyroid transplant even with it being a 3D printed model of fully functioning thyroid I'm very happy. I had my thyroid removed at the age of 15 due to tumors and cysts growing on it and since then I have taken medication every single day and it's been a battle with me getting my medication right I'm always in the hospital because of the side effects thyroid storms suck and when I'm feeling crappy because my thyroid medicine is off all the doctor visits the poking with needles it would be a breath of fresh air if one day this was an option for me to get a thyroid transplant and not have to worry about medication anymore.

Karna Phillips wrote at 11/29/2017 2:04:38 AM:

Hi, my name is Karna Phillips, I am a 46 year old female and have been on thyroid replacement hormones since nearly birth. I was born without a thyroid gland. Conginatal Neonatal Hypothyroidism, an extremely rare condition, as I'm sure you are aware. I spent most of my life on Synthroid/levothyroxine 200mcg. When I was in my early 40's my body changed drastically and things went very bad.y TSH levels were in the 40's and my T3 and T4 were off the charts. They switched me from levothyroxine to synthroid and upped my dose to 300mcg, that wasn't enough, so I was sent to an endocrinologist and he bumped it up to 375mcg, that made my TSH to .006. They lowered my dose to .325mcg but nothing was working. My body was dying and I had very little quality of life. I was told by a friend, to try Armor Thyroid (pig thyroid). It took a very long time to find a Dr that would do that, but I finally did. Now, although I feel much better, it's been over a year of trying to find the right dose. Started at 60mg, then 90mg, then 120 and now we are on trial run with 105mg. It's been a horrible roller coaster ride, for the past 4 years. I've always wondered if there was some sort of transplant that could be done, so I looked it up and found your 3D transplant. I would love to have the opportunity to do this transplant.

winjy wrote at 7/22/2017 2:51:31 PM:

I also have all side effects from levothyroxine and NDT since surgery of thyroid cancer in 2011. I can't even sleep with med due to heart beats and myxdema. I have all inflammation due to hormone imbalance and immunity problem. very sensitive to chemical and food due to side effects. I am sick whatever treatment I have. thyroid transplant is the only hope.

P. THomas wrote at 4/13/2017 1:39:45 AM:

HEllO dr. Mironov, I'm so delighted that you are able to change so many peoples lives due to your break grounding 3D printing. I also need a thyroid, I use to be a superhero on t.v with Stan Lee unfortunately, a doctor totally removed my thyroid by mistake, my life has never been the same. Please in my humbled voice forward your special journal report so I can read and review. I will travel to Russia to get this done. I will also be a poster child and spread the word. Many many Americans are suffering and this so*called replacement pills are awful and do not work. Although I portrayed a superhero on my eyes you Dr Mironov a true superhero with a stethoscope. Best regards, P.Thomas

Mohd Redzuan Devan wrote at 11/15/2016 4:49:19 AM:

My daughter just had her thyroid removed yesterday due to cancer. I am really hoping for the possibility of a thyroid transplant for her. Please please work on this. Bless you all for this.

Kate wrote at 10/1/2016 4:55:27 AM:

I am also interested in an update on thyroid transplant. I too have suffered with thyroid medications after a thyroid removal from cancer and would like to know if this is moving forward to humans. Please there are many desperate folks out here.

Jan wrote at 7/16/2016 5:08:13 PM:

Yes, please give us update...I am tired to take pill everyday...I think I should do the radio Iodine killed almost 100% of my thyroid tissues. Don't know why Dr. suggest that if you do not have the thyroid cancer. Terrible treatment.

Diane wrote at 5/27/2016 5:54:46 AM:

How close are we to human thyroid transplant now please? May 27th 2016

Candice. Holman wrote at 4/26/2016 7:56:23 PM:

Could you plea help me ? I need a thyroid,,have not had one since 2005. It was overactive for 18 people a day. Received two radiation treatments in 9 months. Since then I have psoratic arthritis, osteoarthritis,rheumatoid arthr.,alleverywhere except hips and pelvis, female problems, hormones,eye dosordders from thyroid,swallowing difficuties, choking,immune system down bad reaction to all meds., the only throid replaent I can take is tirosent1,175 mcg ÷very other day with 150 mcg. My bother is a sucesheart tranplant, Please. Help me with a trans]plant of a .thyroid . Cíandice Holman 8 lane st. Benleyville ,pa. 15314

Alexander wrote at 11/16/2015 2:24:53 PM:

I should read the formal published report where all the detailes would be represented. As anyone can see, 90% of that information is based on trust, presumption, supposition that the implanted 'tissue construct' was thyroid realy. However, nobody have seen results of its functionality signs. Another detail: mice thyroid is quite small. At least, 3x4mm in size maximum. It is senceless to discuss any surgical technique except simple subcutaneous injection. That small size is equal to 9-12 spheroids somewhere. Do anyone really believe that the bioprinter war acute nessessary to extrude 12 spheroids of 500mkm? I doubt very much/ Let's look at the published report in a special journal.

Valentina Antohi wrote at 11/10/2015 3:00:43 PM:

Congratulations dr Mir only and the team. I 'm very happy to hear about the enormous success . One day I may be a candidate .

alvaro wrote at 11/4/2015 5:31:53 PM:

I don't have words to translate my happiness . Congratulations Dr Mironov and his team! .

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