3D Organ Printing Break-Through

March 23 2008 / by Marisa Vitols / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Biotechnology   Year: 2008   Rating: 9

Bye-bye organ donors? Not too far in our future lies the technology that will enable 3D printing of a variety of different organs and biological structures.

Nature News recently covered the success by Gabor Forgacs and his colleagues at the University of Missouri in Columbia of printing various tissue structures, including blood vessels and sheets of cardiac tissues. Not only was the printing process a sucess, but once printed, the cardiac and endothelial cells fused into a tissue after 70 hours and began beating like a natural heart after only 90 hours.

Beyond that, Forgacs has his eye on fully implantable whole organs printed from a patient’s own cells. “You give us your cells: we grow them, we print them, the structure forms and we are ready to go,” he says. “I am pretty sure that full organs will be on the market [one day].” The kidney may be one of the first, he predicts, as its filtering function is relatively simple. “It may not look exactly like a kidney, but it will function exactly like one.”

For more information on the science behind this amazing technology, check out these videos by the University of Missouri or ABC coverage on the topic.

And thus, accelerating change in biotechnology continue its march forward to a future that we can only imagine to be full of extraordinary medical break-throughs, as indicated by these early discoveries.

Inflection Point: Tissue Regeneration

May 19 2008 / by juldrich / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Biotechnology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 7 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

Cross-posted from www.jumpthecurve.net

One of my preferred methods for trying to understand where the future might be headed is to look for those areas where technology can address a compelling human need. To this point, this past weekend I read with great interest this opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Why We Need a Market for Human Organs.” It’s a well-reasoned piece and the sentiment appeals to my more libertarian and free market-oriented sensibilities. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that within the next 10-15 years advances in tissue and organ regeneration technology will render the need for “organ markets” obsolete.

I have written about this idea before, but I’d encourage you to read this new government report entitled “2020: A New Vision – A Future for Regenerative Medicine.” According to the report the current world market for replacement organ therapies is in excess of $350 billion. More disturbing, however, is the fact that there are currently over 100,000 patients are on a waiting list for an organ donation and an estimated 8,000 people on that list will die this year while waiting for a transplant. (cont.)

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