Saturday, February 18, 2006

If I Only Had A Heart!

One of the coolest and most recent breakthroughs in Biotechnology is the concept of "Organ Printing". Also known as "Tissue Engineering Technology", it has the potential to solve the organ transplantation crisis.

Graphic artists have modified ink jet printers to increase their ink capacity. This however, would be the ultimate mod: Using modified ink jet printers to make human skin and other organs. The printers are modified by filling the ink resevoirs with suspensions of cells instead of ink.
Several labs can now print arrays of DNA, or proteins, but for tissue engineers, the big challenge is creating three-dimensional structures.
Note from Technophile: This process also may eliminate the need for cloning (recreating entirely new bodies to be used for spare parts) and the moral and ethical issues that go along with it. If one of your organs is failing, scrape a sample of your tissue and print out a new one!
Source: [PC Magazine, February 7, 2006, "Future Watch"]


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