My thoughts on this fascinating invention: As a follow up to the post about the boy who was saved by a part made with a 3-D printer, I'd just like to share what these printers are potentially capable of creating. Though the boy was saved by a very small, simple piece, it must be much more complex to create a working heart! I know that stem cell researchers make a big deal of how they may be able to form human parts, but this seems like a fair alternative, especially since it has already been done in mice. Here's what I want to know now: Is anyone doing this with brains? I think the brain is one of the most complicated, least understood organs in the body. What if this helps to recreate parts of the brain that have been destroyed by strokes and other diseases? Though hearts are important, I think the brain is what makes us human, and current treatments for brain diseases do not seem to be very effective. Should we turn the 3-D printer over to brain researchers? Feel free to comment.
Researchers closing in on printing 3-D hearts
Parts already worked in mice, and doctor projects it'll take a decade for humans
The project is among the most ambitious in the growing field of three-dimensional printing that some say could revolutionize medicine.
“We think we can do it in 10 years — that we can build, from a patient’s own cells, a total ‘bioficial’ heart,” said Williams, executive and scientific director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute. The institute is a collaboration between the University of Louisville and the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence.
Known for creating products as diverse as car parts and action figures, 3-D printing also is being used to create models of human bones and organs, medical devices, personalized prosthetics and now, human tissues. Williams describes the process as taking a three-dimensional structure “and essentially cloning it, using a printer.”