Printing organs for transplants

Advances in medicine are allowing us to live longer than ever, but with our older age comes a greater risk that our organs will fail us. In fact, the shortage of organs available for transplant increases by the day, according to Anthony Atala who spoke at TEDMED.

In his talk, posted in March, Atala presents developments in regenerative medicine including new devices that use the same technology of scanners, fax, copy machines and printers. Instead of using ink in their cartridges, they simply use cells.

On stage, Atala shows us how one of these devices works, actually printing a kidney in as little as seven hours. It’s mind bending.

I feel as though I’d like to show this video to every person I know. This is our future medicine. This technology will no doubt keep us living longer than ever. One day, like salamanders, we will be growing our own organs whenever needed — kidneys, livers, lungs, etc.

Can you even imagine? Eat and drink whatever you like, ruin your liver and kidneys, then have new ones printed in all but a few hours, and you’re as good as new?

It’s almost sickening.

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

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