Written By John Tozzi Via Bloomberg
When Adam Feinberg tried to figure out how to synthesize human tissue four years ago, his supplies were prosaic: a kitchen blender, some gelatin packets from the supermarket baking aisle, and a $2,000 3D printer.
“I had no external funding when I started, so we did it kind of on the cheap,” said Feinberg, 38, a biomedical engineer who runs a lab at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
In a paper published today in Science Advances, Feinberg and his colleagues describe how they eventually refined the technique to print structural replicas of the tissue of arteries, brains, and other organs out of proteins like collagen and fibrin. While the forms they created aren't functioning organs with living cells, they could one day act as a scaffold on which to grow actual tissues.
Doctors have already used 3D printing to support an infant's damaged windpipe, create a titanium jaw replacement, and synthesize tiny livers to test potential drug therapies. Building functioning, custom organs ready for implant is still many hurdles away. But the new research brings the futuristic promise of bespoke tissues for medical therapies another step closer to reality.