Printing Organs

Feb 29 2012 @ 5:09pm

Is becoming a reality:

Some researchers are excited by the potential organ-building capabilities of three-dimensional (3-D) printers. These devices are modified versions of everyday inkjet printers that squirt living cells rather than drops of ink. Layer by layer, they can make three-dimensional structures such as organs and, as of September last year, the blood vessels they contain. [Anthony] Atala is developing this technique – he wowed the audience at a TED conference last year by printing a kidney on stage (although not a functional one).  He says, "For the level four organs [heart, lungs, etc.], it’s just a matter of time," says Atala. "We’re still a long way from full replacement, but I do believe that these technologies are achievable."