3D printing seems to turn up a major innovation almost every week, and the prospect of a 3D printed liver is one of the most incredible ones so far. Being able to create the vital organ without the need for a donor could obliterate waiting lists and save a lot of lives.
A company called Organovo has already managed to create a working liver using 3D printing, which was kept alive for 40 days in the lab. The main issue was keeping it alive longer as there was no fresh source of blood to the cells, 3D printing has (until now) been tricky when it comes to printing the veins and arteries needed to keep the liver working naturally. Using fibroblasts and endothelial cells to create the system, the company says they can now print at just 500 microns.
The company isn’t the only one making the effort here, with a prize of $1 million up for grabs to the first team who create a working 3D printer, not to mention the fame that will go with achieving such a feat. The team predicts they will achieve the task next year and we don’t doubt them one bit, 2014 is going to be an incredible year for 3D printing.
Thank you T3 for providing us with this information.