Scientists Move Closer To 3D Printing Organs with Stem Cells - medtigo



Scientists Move Closer To 3D Printing Organs with Stem Cells

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Bioprinting is a cutting-edge technology that uses living cells to create 3D structures resembling human organs or tissues. This revolutionary technology combines the precision of 3D printing with the potential of regenerative medicine to produce complex living tissues, which can be used for a wide range of applications, including drug testing, disease modeling, and, eventually, transplantation.

Bioprinting has the potential to revolutionize healthcare by providing a limitless supply of organs for transplantation, reducing the need for donor organs and the associated ethical issues. Although bioprinting is still in its infancy, significant progress has been made in recent years, and it is expected to have a transformative impact on medicine in the coming decades.  

As per a report published in CNET, scientists at Stanford University have developed a bioprinting technique that could potentially revolutionize organ transplantation. The team, led by bioengineer Mark Skylar-Scott, has managed to 3D-print living heart tissue, with the ultimate goal of printing crucial pieces of the heart, such as valves and ventricles, that can grow with a patient.

Bioprinting is a process that uses living cells to create organ-like structures. However, the operation is typically time-consuming because printing is frequently done one cell at a time. Even at 1,000 cells per second, printing a single human heart would take more than a millennium. 

Skylar-Scott and his colleagues developed a printing technology that uses clusters of thousands of cells known as organoids to speed up the process. The team combines millions of organoids to create “human stem cell mayonnaise,” which can be printed using a 3D printer. The printed cells adopt tissue structure, allowing for the insertion of complicated networks of blood vessels.  

The crew has already printed a vein-like tube capable of self-circulation. The next obvious step is to print a larger structure, such as a working chamber, that could be grafted onto an existing heart. Even though a fully printed heart is still at least two decades away, Skylar-Scott believes that a heart valve printed using this technology will be installed in a human patient within the next five years. 

This development has significant implications for transplant patients, as nearly one in 100 children in the US are born with a heart defect, and transplants can be rejected by the body up to 20 or 30 years later. Bioprinting a new organ using a patient’s cells could reduce these cases. 

Skylar-Scott admits the goal is ambitious, but he believes many of the basic building blocks required to start a project like this are already in place. This development, along with the increasing use of 3D printers in various industries, is changing how we build our cars, homes, and food. The potential for bioprinting to revolutionize organ transplantation is another example of how 3D printing technology is transforming our world. 

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