Patients waiting for organ donations may soon be able to have one printed for them, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Organovo, a California-based regenerative medicine company, has developed a prototype adapted from 3D laser printing technology used to produce machine parts, but instead of combining layers of metal and plastic, it pieces together living tissue. The machine is called a “bio-printer,” and can already grow new arteries, according to the report.
“Ultimately the idea would be for surgeons to have tissue on demand for various uses," said Keith Murphy, the company’s chief executive officer, who hopes that this technology will soon be able to create entire organs.
Organovo hired Australian automation specialist Invetech to produce the “bio-printing” prototype, which is being evaluated by research institutions, according to The Engineer, a British magazine.
The bio-printer uses two heads to deposit 60,000 to 80,000 cells onto sheets of gel that form a cylinder comparable to a blood vessel, the magazine reported.
Researchers hope this technique can be developed to create organs, giving patients a life-saving alternative to transplant wait lists.