Dec 31, 2013 12:21 AM GMT
This is great news...
Scientists have already used 3-D printing technology to help produce human body parts like an ear, but what about a full-blown organ like a liver, kidney or heart? Companies like the San Diego-based startup Organovo broke new ground in this field in 2013. Having successfully printed human liver tissue, the company is now planning a product launch (of sorts) for 2014 in the form of 3-D printed liver models that can be used by other pharmaceutical companies for toxicology testing.
Don't think "Frankenstein" quite yet, though. We're far from — and may never get to — the point where somebody will be able to just press "Print" from a home computer and get a brand-new liver. Scientists won't be growing human hearts and lungs in large glass tubes anytime soon. Speaking in an interview with NBC News, Keith Murphy, chairman and CEO at Organovo, emphasized that what his company is making is "tissue for research," not a "liver for immediate transplant."