A ground-breaking technique in regenerative medicine that can “print” a human kidney could eliminate the need for organ donors in the future, Agence France-Presse reported.
"It's like baking a cake," said Anthony Atala of the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine at a TED Conference in Long Beach, Calif., on Thursday.
After scanners are used to create a 3-D image of the patient’s kidney that needs to be replaced, a tissue sample smaller than a postage stamp starts the computerized process of creating a new kidney—by “printing” layers of tissue.
More than 90 percent of those waiting for transplants are specifically waiting for kidneys, and the supply of donated organs does not meet the need, according to Atala.
"There is a major health crisis today in terms of the shortage of organs," Atala said. "Medicine has done a much better job of making us live longer, and as we age our organs don't last."