Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

These tiny 3D-printed organs could save your life

organs.jpg
print1.jpg

To paraphrase the great Derek Zoolander, "What are these, organs for ants?".

A team of biologists from Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina have taken the first steps to replicating an entire human body on a microchip by 3D-printing a working set of microscopic hearts and livers. But you can ditch any thoughts of a 3D-printer replacing your GP just yet. 

Roughly 0.25 millimetres in diameter (a shade bigger than a human hair), the tiny hearts and livers - known as organoids - were created by "reprogramming" human skin cells to behaving like heart and liver cells, before being 3D-printed into the correct shape and filled with cell culture. 

The $24 million (£16m) project isn't aiming to create its own micro Frankenstein's monster: by developing working human organs, the team at Wake Forest Institute are hoping to do away with the need for expensive, ethically questionable animal testing. Should the project prove successful, future medical treatments and disease research can be tested out on chips containing 3D-printed organs rather than live subjects.

But if you'd set your (actual) heart on your own 3D-printed organ, you're in luck. Italian research studio MHOX has unveiled a scheme that will allow customers to "swap" their eyes for lab-grown products - preventing blindness, sharpening usual levels of sight and even allowing users to install wi-fi connectivity, streaming their own view to other sources. 

Print

"Latest developments in bioprinting and biohacking let us imagine that in the near future it would be possible to easily print organic, functional body parts, allowing the human to replace defected districts or enhance standard performance," said Filippo Nassetti, MHOX partner and lead designer.

When ideas you last saw in Minority Report start cropping up in scientific reports, you know it's only a matter of time before clones start serving you Big Macs and Google runs for World President. 

[Via: New Scientist, Dezeen]

(Images: Wake Forest Institute, MHOX)

Related

rover3.jpg

NASA have found water on Mars - here's everything you need to know...

shakespeare1.jpg

Disputed Shakespeare Play Is 'Proven' Genuine

Candel.jpg

10 Amazing Tricks With Fire

brasil.jpg

Amazing Video Of How The Sahara Ends Up In Brazil

4.jpg

The Infinitum Table

tinder2.jpg

Here's What Tinder Would Look Like In The 80s

More

Leaked footage suggests FIFA 18 could resurrect a beloved classic game

Please be true

by Tom Victor
22 Aug 2017

A 'Rollercoaster Tycoon'-style 'Jurassic Park' game is coming

YES PLEASE

by Gary Ogden
21 Aug 2017

How famous websites looked when they first went online vs. now

Amazon has come a long, long way...

by Gary Ogden
18 Aug 2017

How one button on your keyboard can save you from email hell

Save yourself from email hell

by Alex Finnis
18 Aug 2017

A real-life Mario Kart track is coming and yes, it looks amazing

It's BYOB (bring your own bananas)

by Tom Victor
17 Aug 2017

Everyone is obsessed with these £6 earphones - here's why

They have over 25,000 5-star ratings on Amazon

by Gary Ogden
15 Aug 2017

An ode to MSN Messenger: The best instant messaging app of all time

Nothing can ever come close

by Gary Ogden
11 Aug 2017

This simple hack will make music sound louder on your iPhone

Turn that thing up to 11

by Emily Reynolds
10 Aug 2017

These 2004 Apple 'rules for success' show why the company is so huge

"Have fun, otherwise it’s not worth it"

by Tom Victor
10 Aug 2017

Facebook has launched a new feature to kill off TV and Netflix

It's trying to take over your life even more

by Dave Fawbert
10 Aug 2017