Bioprinting: An Organ Transplant Revolution?
As technologies go, printing feels fairly mundane and uninspiring. Sure, there are some exciting developments going on with 3D printing, but they’re hardly front of mind when you’re trying to fix yet another paper jam…
But what if I told you that printing might be on the verge of a huge breakthrough which would herald a revolution in medical science and save tens of thousands of lives a year? What if instead of just churning out paper and plastic, our printers could print… us?
That’s the exciting potential offered by bioprinting.
Back in the early 2000s, researchers realised that the key to meeting demand for donor organs may just lie with existing technology: an ordinary, off-the-shelf inkjet print (with a few moderations, of course).
Since then, it’s become possible to print an organ constructed from a patient’s own organic material – essentially, one that’s genuinely theirs.