More than 107,000 men, women, and children were awaiting their organ transplant in the US as of February 2021. And approximately 17 people die every day waiting for their donor. With an organ donor shortage all over the world, scientists are looking into alternative transplant methods.
3D-printed organs could be the breakthrough we’re all looking for.
What is Bioprinting?
In the most basic form, bioprinting is the 3D printing of tissues that form vital organs of the human body. It works on the same principle as regular 3D printing, that is, using the additive technique. The printer adds a layer on layer, eventually forming a human organ that we hope will be capable of undergoing an organ replacement one day.
Research is being conducted on bioprinting human organs. Some have been successful in grafting a burnt skin area. While these researches were carried out on immunodeficient mice, the same methods can be used to graft hum skin.
Where Do We Stand?
When it comes to internal organs, we are still way behind. A group of researchers at Tel Aviv University was able to 3D print a human heart with all the arteries and veins. The catch here was that the heart was the size of a cherry.
They had created this tiny heart by taking a biopsy of the patient’s fatty tissues. Even though the structure was pretty accurate, they are yet to train the organ to function and pump blood on its own. Once that happens, they will try to replicate that on animal models to see how successful it is.
Researchers in Australia came up with a 3D printing BioPen. The BioPen functions by taking cells from the fatty tissues of the patient and then regenerating cartilage. So far, this BioPen has only been tested on sheep.
There is no doubt in the fact that bioprinting has made strides in recent years. More and more research is being done, and we are seeing successful results. However, we still have a long way to go when it comes to 3D organ printing and transplants. It could take years and years of research before we can print out a human heart and transplant it like no big deal.
As established above, we have to cover a long journey before we can 3D print an organ. However, we can still 3D print other non-living objects. We, at Connekt. LLC, are here to make your work easier. You no longer have to worry about designing and 3D printing your prototypes as we provide you with 3D printing services.