Printing off a kidney or another human organ may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but with the advancements in 3D printing technology, the idea may not be so far-fetched.
While 3D printing has been successfully used in the health care sector to make prosthetic limbs, custom hearing aids and dental fixtures, the technology is now being used to create more complex structures — particularly human tissue.
Organovo [ONVO 2.14 0.14 (+7%) ], a San Diego-based company that focuses on regenerative medicine, is one company using 3D printers, called bioprinters, to print functional human tissue for medical research and regenerative therapies."This is disruptive technology," said Mike Renard, Organovo's vice president of commercial operations. "It's always interesting and fun, but never easy."Traditional 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using additive processes, in which an object is created by laying down successive layers of material such as plastic, ceramics, glass or metal to print an object....MORE