Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

July 30, 2014
A close-up of tiny bioink droplets used to print organs shows live cells inside. Credit: American Chemical Society

Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients who desperately need them. In the ACS journal Langmuir, scientists are reporting new understanding about the dynamics of 3-D bioprinting that takes them a step closer to realizing their goal of making working tissues and organs on-demand.

Yong Huang and colleagues note that this idea of producing tissues and organs, or biofabricating, has the potential to address the shortage of organ donations. And biofabricated ones could even someday be made with a patient's own cells, lowering the risk of rejection. Today, more than 120,000 people are on waiting lists for donated organs, with most needing kidney transplants. But between January and April of this year, just short of 10,000 people received the transplant they needed. There are a few different biofabricating methods, but inkjet printing has emerged as a frontrunner. It's been used to print , from hamster ovary cells to human fibroblasts, which are a common type of cell in the body. But no studies had been done to really understand how biological inks behave when they're dispensed through printer nozzles. Huang's team set out to fill that gap.

They tested bioinks with different concentrations of plus a hydrogel made out of sodium alginate. They discovered, among other findings, that adding more in the material reduces both the droplet size and the rate at which it gets dispensed. The new results will help scientists move forward with this promising technology.

Explore further: Bioprinting new organs

Related Stories

Bioprinting new organs

April 3, 2014
With the new 3D Bioprinter, the research group of Professor Paul Gatenholm at the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering exploits new possibilities of tissue engineering and organ regeneration.

Europe tightens curbs on organ trafficking

July 9, 2014
The Council of Europe adopted on Wednesday a new international convention to make organ trafficking a criminal offence, giving the police greater scope to hunt mafia groups involved in the trade across borders.

Transplant expert dispels organ donation misconceptions

April 21, 2014
(HealthDay)—Misconceptions prevent many people from agreeing to donate their organs and potentially save a life, according to a transplant expert.

A step closer to bio-printing transplantable tissues and organs

June 30, 2014
Researchers have made a giant leap towards the goal of 'bio-printing' transplantable tissues and organs for people affected by major diseases and trauma injuries, a new study reports.

Cultural attitudes impede organ donations in China

May 17, 2013
(AP)—China is phasing out its reliance on executed prisoners for donated organs, but an architect of the country's transplant system said Friday that ingrained cultural attitudes are impeding the rise of donations among ...

Death-row inmates main source of organs in China: report

March 7, 2012
Executed prisoners were still the main source of organs used in transplant operations in China due to the lack of voluntary donations, a top health official was quoted saying Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

Best of Last Year – The top Medical Xpress articles of 2016

December 23, 2016
(Medical Xpress)—It was a big year for research involving overall health issues, starting with a team led by researchers at the UNC School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health who unearthed more evidence that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.