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March 17, 2011

Modified dot-matrix printers could be used to print replacement tissues and organs.



Printing new organs…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.


Organ transplants are often hard to come by, and there’ s a high likelihood of rejection. But in the future, it may be possible to literally print some tissues and even organs out on a printer. Cornell roboticist Hod Lipson says 3D printers that resemble dot matrix printers already exist, and they’re being modified to deal with human cells.

HOD LIPSON (Cornell University):

Imagine that you could take cells from a torn meniscus cartilage in the knee, culture them, make more cells, put them in a special ink that’s biologically compatible, then print a three dimensional new meniscus from those cells and then implant it back into the person that had the torn meniscus to begin with.


He says it may never be possible to print something as complex as an eye, but that someday a body scan could provide the blueprints for replacing organs when they’re needed.  I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.