You may never look at your inkjet printer in the same way again.
In university laboratories and start-up companies, biomedical engineering pioneers are working on printing living tissue, aka body parts, by using modified 3D inkjet printing technology.
That’s right. Using the same technology that sprays droplets of ink on paper, researchers hope to build living tissue into 3D shapes or functional human organs – i.e., kidney, liver, heart – using cartridges filled with living cells.
Experimental bioprinters are being used to construct living tissue by outputting layer upon layer of living cells. San Diego, CA. – based Organovo, is breaking new ground with its NovoGen MMX Bioprinter, designed to create tissue on demand for research and surgical applications.
In 2010, the company reported the first fully bioprinted blood vessel printed from human artery cells, a process referred to as regenerative medicine. This combination of technology and science is poised to revolutionize medicine. Drug and biotech companies are also looking to utilize the technology to save time and money by testing a drug’s viability on human cells prior to broader clinical trials.
On a similar note, it was recently reported in Wired Magazine that The Thiel Foundation made a grant to a Missouri-based biotech startup that wants to print 3D meat. The Thiel Foundation was established by dynamo Peter Thiel, a technology entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, started PayPal and later provided funding for Facebook, among a long list of endeavors.