There is a scene in The Fifth Element where the entire body of Milla Jovovich is created using a futuristic 3D printer. We are not quite there yet, but it isn’t science fiction anymore. A new 3D printer has just been unveiled that can successfully print bone, cartilage and muscle on a large scale to be used as human implants. The printed tissues such as ears are made with human cells and have survived intact. The integrated tissue–organ printer (ITOP) can fabricate stable, human-scale tissue constructs of any shape.
It’s not the first time scientists have made a 3D printer capable of making human tissue, but this one is the first that can print human scale tissue ready to be implanted.
“A team of biomedical researchers at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine has just completed an invention 10 years in the making. It’s a 3D printer that can craft relatively simple tissues like cartilage into large complex shapes—like an infant’s ear. Using cartridges that are brimming with biodegradable plastic and human cells bound up in gel, this new kind of 3D printer builds complex chunks of growing muscle, cartilage, and even bone. When implanted into animals, these simple fabricated tissues survive and thrive indefinitely.” [Popular Mechanics]
The technology has been published in the journal Nature HERE.