'Bioprinter' creates bespoke lab-grown body parts for transplant

Well, for animals so far.

Quote Originally Posted by The Guardian
A bioprinter – a three dimensional printer that uses living cells in suspension as its ink, and injection nozzles that can follow a CT scan blueprint – brings the dream of transplant surgery a step nearer: a bespoke body part grown in a laboratory and installed by a robot surgeon.

Scientists and clinicians began exploring tissue culture for transplant surgery more than 20 years ago. But researchers in the US report in Nature Biotechnology that they have harnessed a sophisticated, custom-designed 3D printer to print living muscle, cartilage and bone to repair battlefield injury.

The printed body parts so far have been tested only in laboratory animals. But tested organs have the size, structure and function for human use: once transplanted, they could be colonized by blood vessels and begin to grow and renew themselves normally. The study was backed by the US Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Anthony Atala, who directs the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Winston-Salem in North Carolina, described the bioprinter as an important advance. “It can fabricate stable, human-scale tissue of any shape. With further development, this technology could potentially be used to print living tissue and organ structures for surgical implantation.”

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