3D printing is not a new area for doctors and surgeons to use, they’ve managed to 3D print new ribs and a sternum for a cancer patient and that was only the start. 3D printing has come a long way, being able to print everything from a bike to a supercar, a PC case or even a houses. The problem is that they are all solid things, inanimate objects and items that we use on occasion, the problem with organs is that we use them everyday and need to keep alive. Previous attempts to grow human organs have had trouble with the latter stage, with it proving difficult to give an organ what it needs to grow, this has now come one step closer to being solved thanks to 3D printing.
Published in Nature Biotechnology, the recent advancement means that not only can organs be “printed” but they are kept alive and retain their strength long after creation. They do this by creating a lattice of layers, with holes going throughout the organ, this means that when it is still developing it can absorb the nutrients and chemicals needed, filling out and retaining its strength as it absorbs its needed Oxygen.
This solution is a step forward, being described as the “geese that lays the golden egg”, and certainly seems more in line with common ideas than using a candy floss machine to create blood vessels.