Scientists Successfully 3D Print Transplantable Living Kidney
(Gizmodo) For the first time ever, scientists are successfully 3D printing actual, living human kidneys. Like the human livers printed in the past, the kidney are currently miniature in size, but with about 90% of the printed cells being alive, the potential for human use looks immensely positive. The lead researcher on the project is Xu Mingen, a professor at a Huazhong University of Science and Technology in eastern Zhejiang Province.
Because the product contains living, growing cells, the actual process is considerably different from plastic-based 3D printing. To produce mass amounts of the living cells, samples of human kidney cells are cultured in large volumes and blended with hydrogel, a water- and nutrition-rich material that makes up the 3D printed kidneys’ base. Afterwards, the printed cells can survive for up to four months in a lab thanks to this gel’s rich nutrient source.