Live Body Parts Created on 3D Printer
It’s an accomplishment that could be a giant step toward great things for many of the most desperate patients.
There are more than 100,000 people on the national transplant list waiting for major organs, and every 10 seconds another name is added. 21 people die every day without receiving a lifesaving transplant.
3D printing has become more popular and consistently proven its ability to save and improve lives. The relatively cheap and quick method of creating objects may be able to reduce those numbers to zero.
The exciting part for the team at Wake Forest is that, for the first time, living cells survived the printing process. They also successfully implanted their 3D-printed structures into rodents. If the technology works as well for humans, doctors may be able to use a patient’s own cells to print them a new bone, muscle, or piece of cartilage.
This new development is certainly innovative and exciting, but the researchers’ enthusiasm is tempered by the reality that it’s still a long way from implementation. They have yet to implant anything inside humans and are still unsure how safe that will prove to be.