Will We Be Able to Print 3D Organs?

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The concept of printing has been around for a long time because we were actually talking about printing the scaffolds and materials, right? So, it didn't take much of a leap to say, OK, let's just not print the materials, but let's print the materials and the cells together, and of course to do so, the challenge was well we know we can print ceramics right? We can print auto parts right? The door knobs in your car get printed very much in that way many times.

So the challenge was that if we're going to create this structures how do you make sure that the cells that you put in survive, and that's really a lot of the work that we ended having to do, making sure that we could deliver cells through a printing cartridge, and allow them to survive and be functional.

We started out with just a desktop inkjet printer, your typical desktop printer that you would have at home but instead of using ink in the cartridge, we would use cells, and we modified the printer so that they would have a 3D elevator. So instead of having the sheets going through one at a time every time the cartridge went through the elevator just lowered itself just a hair line, and so you would build up on the organ one layer at a time.