3D printing is a promising technology that, aside from its obvious manufacturing advantages, has been steadily showing promise in the field of medical research. Researchers at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China claim to have successfully created living human kidneys through the use of 3D Printing. The artificially created organs have apparently been found to effectively perform the functions of a human kidney, including the breakdown of toxins, metabolic functions, and the secretion of fluids. According to a recently surfaced video report from China View, the raw material from which the organs are printed is a mixture of cultured cells and a nutrient rich hydrogel. The 3D printed organs are said to be able to survive for up to an incredible 4 months in the lab. Xu Mingen, lead researcher, explains that this process differs from traditional 3D printing, because the living tissue must have adequate room to grow, unlike solid plastic devices. He also says that the technology is far from being ready for use in hospitals, but the potential for 3D-Printed organs to revolutionize the transplant process is staggering.
This could be a step in the right direction in the world of regenerative medicine, as an incredible number of people die each year from a lack of available organs for transplant. Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is one of the leading institutions dedicated to research in regenerative medicine, and were the first to successfully grow human organs in the lab. In 2006, they successfully transplanted lab-grown bladders into seven patients. The progress made by Wake Forest in this field, as well as the research being conducted by Xu Mingen et al, portrays a not-so-bleak future in which the number of deaths from a lack of available organ donors could be greatly reduced.
Gizmodo article: Scientists Can Now 3D Print Transplantable, Living Kidneys…
Yona is a student at Illinois Institute of Technology studying Technical Writing. He is an avid musician, lover of all technology, photographer, and writer. He was born in Israel and currently lives in Chicago. Yona spends most of his free time playing guitar, biking, and enjoying nature.