All the organs that are fit to print!

There are several new technologies being developed to create replacement body parts in the lab. We’ve discussed Stem Cells and the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), but here’s an idea we haven’t mentioned yet: The Bioprinter.

Imagine a printer – much like the Inkjet or Laser printer that is connected to your computer – that prints out human organs rather than letters or photos! It’s not such a dream!

Dr. Gabor Forgacs is the creator of this particular Bioprinter (There are several; each uses a slightly different process) and it works much like a standard printer. But instead of ink, the printheads fire a mixture of human cells (collected from the organ you want to reproduce) and a growth medium Dr. Forgacs calls “Bioink”. Instead of regular paper, the Bioprinter uses a gelatin sheet called (What else?) Biopaper.

One sheet of Biopaper won’t do it – you print several sheets, align them properly, and wait six weeks. During that time the human cells grow and fuse together as the Biopaper dissolves. The result is a human organ ready for transplant – with a 0% rejection rate. This may not be such a pipe dream – Dr. Forgacs thinks we are five years from a major breakthrough with Bioprinters.

CLICK HERE for Dr. Forgacs’ description of the process in an interview with National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. And while you are doing that, I’m going to make some “adjustments” to my printer….!

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4 Responses to “All the organs that are fit to print!”

  1. Zate Says:

    This is the kind of thing I dream about. One day I wish that Trevor could go in for surgery to replace his conduit with living growing tissue and never have to have another operation afterwards.

  2. Shannon Says:

    This is absolutely AWESOME! And possibly only FIVE years away?

  3. Gretchen Says:

    Bio INK. Ha ha ha. I first read it as something more like “Bee-yoink!”

    That printing process would be super cool.

  4. Rebuilding a damaged heart « Adventures of a Funky Heart! Says:

    […] By Steve I’ve written about the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine and the Bioprinter, both attempts to create organs in the lab. But instead of creating entire organs from scratch, […]

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