Whether you call it organ printing, bio-printing, bio-manufacturing or computer-aided tissue engineering, it sounds a lot easier than it actually is.
Researchers have been using inkjet printers filled with cells instead of ink to manufacture organs that can be transplanted into humans. Dr. Anthony Atala, the director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, gave a fascinating TED talk last year in which he showed the audience a kidney that had been printed that day (but with a warning that it was an early, experimental prototype years away from functional and clinical use).
As Atala says, there are still many challenges to overcome before printing organs becomes standard practice, so the 2016 tag is pretty optimistic.
“In the future — maybe 50 years from now — we will be able to make very complex organs and bones, and very complex tissues,” Dr. Vladimir Mironov, researcher and associate professor at the Medical University...