Surgeon Anthony Atala demonstrates an early-stage experiment that could someday solve
the organ-donor problem: a 3D printer that uses living cells to output a transplantable kidney.
Using similar technology, Dr. Atala's young patient Luke Massella received an engineered bladder
10 years ago; we meet him onstage.
Listen and answer the questions at REVIEW at ed_TED
By Jeremy Hsu, LiveScience Contributor | November 25, 2013
A model of a 3D-printed kidney drew wild applause when a surgeon first held it up at a TED in 2011. But the dream of creating replacement human kidneys using 3D-printed still remains years away, even as the technology has enabled the rise of "bioprinting" aimed at building organs suitable for transplantation.
Kidneys represent the human organ in highest demand among the more than 120,000 U.S. patients currently waiting for organ donations.
Researchers hope that new generations of 3D printers can use living human cells to build replacement organs layer by layer — especially organs such as livers, hearts and kidneys.
"These are by far the most complex, because you have a lot more cells per centimeter than any other organ, and because you have so many cells that are functionally complex," said Tony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Chinese Scientists Successfully Produce a Living Kidney Using a 3D Printer
by Helen Morgan, 09/09/13
We’ve all seen the cool things that can be done with 3D printers, but now scientists at a Chinese university in eastern Zhejiang Province have made an incredible leap for medical technology by producing a 3D printed kidney that they say can function as a human organ. This development comes two years after Anthony Atala printed a human kidney live at a TED event two years ago, and researchers are progressing in their effort to produce a viable organ that will be suitable for
Read more: Chinese Scientists Successfully Produce a Living Kidney Using a 3D Printer | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
The tiniest challenges
The ability to print full-size functioning organs depends on figuring out how to seed 3D-printed organs with both large and small blood vessels that can supply nutrient-rich blood to keep living tissue healthy. So far, no lab has succeeded in 3D-printing organs with the network of blood vessels necessary to sustain them.
Organovo has begun working toward that goal by experimenting with 3D-printing blood vessels 1 millimeter or larger in width. The company has also built tissues containing tiny blood vessels about 50 microns or smaller (1 millimeter is equal to 1,000 microns) — enough to sustain a millimeter-thick chunk of organ.
|A group at the German Fraunhofer Institute has created blood vessels, by printing artificial biological molecules with a 3D inkjet printer and zapping them into shape with a laser.|
ORGANOVO: Functional 3D Printed Organs by 2014
Kyle Maxey posted on December 30, 2013