An emerging branch of medicine called “organ printing” takes a patient’s own healthy cells and uses a printer, cell-based “bio-ink” and “bio-paper” to create tissue to repair a damaged organ.
A new hydrogel or “bio-paper”,developed by the University of Utah College of Pharmacy, enables printing of organs by layering thin sheets embedded with cells. The cells and liquid hydrogel are put in the printer cartridge and then dropped into three-dimensional, 1-microliter dots that form layers as the hydrogel hardens. The cells form tissue that can be implanted into a damaged organ. Glenn D. Prestwich believes testing will begin on humans in the next year as research pushes to repair damaged organs in real-time.