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.”
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.