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3-D Bioprinter Creates Human Ear, Makes Way For Human Body Part Transplants

Update Date: Feb 16, 2016 09:29 AM EST

A 3-D bioprinter has been developed by scientists from Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. It can not only produce human tissues but also mold them into body parts, such as an ear or a jaw bone.

By developing the Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System (ITOP) for a decade, scientists are hoping to use it to replace injured, missing or damaged tissues. Such parts can be made to suit the patients' need, according to Gizmodo.

This bioprinter blends live cells with a liquid gel slowly hardening, even as it seems to have some characteristics of a living tissue. This supplies tiny tunnels for blood vessels that can replace body parts.

"We are actually printing the scaffolds and the cells together. We show that we can grow muscle. We make ears the size of baby ears. We make jawbones the size of human jawbones. We are printing all kinds of things," said Anthony Atala of the Wake Forest University Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Still, more work is needed to implant these 3-D printed body parts on humans, though implanting them under the skin of mice has helped, but not into human cells. Scientists need to evaluate the human immune response and understand human regeneration of bio-printed tissues too, according to International Business Times.

The study is published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

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