The investigation began more than 20 years ago, and it would seem that we are now getting ever-closer to being able to grow real, live body parts in laboratories for medical purposes. This would allow doctors and surgeons to effectively use 3D printing technology to help heal injuries such as those caused during wars.
The piece of equipment required is called a bioprinter. It makes use of living cells, and injection nozzles that follow a CT scan blueprint. This has been used to create living body parts in laboratories, including muscle, bone and cartilage. Whilst it hasn’t yet been tested on humans, scientists have grown ears in a laboratory and have been able to attach them to mice with positive results. The bioprinter can create tissue that is able to remain alive, and even grow.
It is thought that these latest experiments with the bioprinter can create body parts which will survive for long enough to be used in an operating theatre. Transplanted body parts, organs and tissue could use blood vessels to sustain themselves and begin to grow normally and healthily. The capabilities of 3D printing are far reaching, and scientists are making some very real progress.