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Now a 3D Printer to Create Organs at the Touch of a Button

Update Date: Sep 07, 2013 05:50 AM EDT
3D Printers
Scientists have created a 3D printing device that will soon be used to produce tailor-made transplant organs on just a click of the button.
(Photo : osde-info/Flickr)

Scientists have created a 3D printing device that will soon be used to produce tailor-made transplant organs on just a click of the button.

The breakthrough invention has been done by scientists in London. The device involves a special print head nozzle that can dispense a wide range of different materials at a very high accuracy.

The nozzle, called the Vista 3D, can print large particles and fluids through improvements in droplet ejection.

Sam Hyde, managing director of the company Melbourn TTP, said the medical possibilities regarding this 3D printing device were “very exciting”. When speaking to ‘Cambridge News’ Mr. Hyde said the organ printing could be done in just five to 10 years’ time.

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“You need to get the right kind of cells to the printer and keep them in the right condition. The key thing is then to delicately dispense these cells into the right position without damaging them, and our technology is very good at that,” he added.

In the shorter term, it is possible that printer might be able to make simpler structures such as highly customised surgical implants or orthopaedic implants or even hip replacements. These will be possible by taking tailor made designs from an MRI scan.

Dr Sean Cheng, an expert in medical devices at Cambridge University, said if all goes to plan, printing organs “would literally save hundreds of thousands of lives every year.”

However, there is a technological barrier to overcome before this could be used widely. The special nozzle is currently fitted onto 2D printers and to upgrade it to 3D printers might take two years.

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