Organovo, a San Diego-based company that specializes in regenerative medicine announced a new $200,000 bioprinter that prints artificial organs using inkjet technology. Partner engineering firm Invetech in Melbourne, Australia designed and developed what may well turn out to be the world’s first production model 3D bioprinter:
Yes, artificial organs… kidneys, esophagi, bladders, muscles, cartilage, ureters, glands, trachea, bone, breast lung, uterus, testes, nerves, livers, and even hearts. Need a new retina? Print one. Technovelgy points out that artificial organs have appeared in SF since Philip K. Dick wrote about artiforgs in his 1964 novel Cantata 140 (a.k.a. The Crack in Space) and Larry Niven described artificially-grown organs in his 1968 novel A Gift From Earth. Once again, science fiction is rapidly becoming science fact.
Dr. Gabor Forgacs is the Scientific Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Organovo. Dr. Forgacs ultimately foresees fully implantable organs printed from a patient’s own cells. “You give us your cells: we grow them, we print them, the structure forms and we are ready to go,” he says. “I am pretty sure that full organs will be on the market [one day].” A printed biological heart might not appear exactly like an embryonic heart with a pericardium, two superior atria, and two inferior ventricles. But it will perform the same function: pumping blood throughout the blood vessels.
Bioprinter Prints Artificial Organs