I am a big Spider man fan and ever since I saw the lizard regenerate his limbs I was deeply convinced that modern science will someday make this possible for humans as well. The good news is that I am closely associated to the technology that could one day possibly make transplantable functioning organ for humans. We have been hearing about 3d printed body organs however most of the news we received gave us intimations that the technology is possible, but seemed like a distant future. But there has been a major breakthrough in the field and it was announced today.
A team of regenerative medicine scientists from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has announced that they have been able to make a Bioprinter which is capable of printing living tissue structures such as bones and soft organs. Thus far team of scientist has been able to print organs like Ears, bone, and muscle structures. These 3d printed body organs have also successfully completed clinical testing.
The news was published in a research paper in the Nature Biotechnology. The said bio printer is called the Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System, the printer is able to deposit bio-degradable, plastic-like materials which form the outer shell of a tissue structure, as well as hydrogels containing actual human cells.
The Bioprinter which has been a hard work of 10 years is said to be capable to build a strong external structure for the tissue. This structure dissolves once the cells form a solid tissue structure; the reports suggest that cell remains intact during the whole process.
Wake Forest scientists used MRI scans and CT scan data from humans to build the 3d printed bio parts, thus printed bio parts were tested on host’s animals. The implanted organs successfully matured into functional tissue on the host which shows the success of the experiment.
To ensure that the structures live long enough to integrate with the body, the researchers optimized the cell-containing hydrogels to promote cell growth, also printing a lattice of micro-channels throughout the 3D printed tissue through which oxygen and nutrients can flow.
Anthony Atala, M.D., director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) and lead author on the paper, gave the news to the media about this successful experiment and said "This novel tissue and organ printer is an important advance in our quest to make replacement tissue for patients; It can fabricate stable, human-scale tissue of any shape. With further development, this technology could potentially be used to print living tissue and organ structures for surgical implantation.”
According to Dr. Atala the 3d printed organ used for the experiment was an ear which was fitted on a rat. The printed organ survived and showed signs of forming a vascular system at one and two months after implantation.
Atala concluded the press release by saying that "Our results indicate that the bio-ink combination we used, combined with the micro-channels, provides the right environment to keep the cells alive and to support cell and tissue growth,".