3D printing with stem cells could lead to printable organs
A potentially breakthrough 3D-printing process using human stem cells could be the precursor to printing organs from a patient’s own cells.
Some day in the future, when you need a kidney transplant, you may get a 3D-printed organ created just for you. If scientists are able to achieve that milestone, they may look back fondly at a breakthrough printing process pioneered by researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland in collaboration with Roslin Cellab, a stem cell technology company.
As of 2018 we have successfully grown and transplanted only three organs that I’ve heard about in the news: a bladder, a windpipe and some vaginas.
In 2006, Atala and his team announced the first successful bioengineered organ transplant, a bladder, which had been implanted into seven patients in 1999. Earlier this year he announced the successful follow-up of four women given bioengineered vaginas in 2005-2008.via TheGuardianTissue engineered hearts and lungs may be still at the laboratory stage, but replacement vaginas made from the patient’s own cells have been around for a while. A paper in the Lancet confirms they continue to work years after surgery.The four patients in the study had Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, which affects women who are genetically and hormonally normal but have an absent or greatly shortened vagina. MRKH may also produce a missing or defective cervix and uterus. Sex is usually painful for women with the condition and more than half a million are affected worldwide.While we are some way from being able to enable most women with MRKH to conceive, the Wake Forest School of Medicine created sheets from biodegradable scaffolds and epithelial and muscle cells of four girls aged 13-18 with MRKH. These were then “hand-sewn into a vagina-like shape” in the authors’ words and implanted. Each vagina was shaped by the Federico Gomez Children’s Hospital, Mexico, to best match the body of the woman it was for.Follow-ups over the next 6-8 years using physical examination, tissue biopsies and MRIs indicated that blood vessels had connected to the implant and within months new cells formed spontaneously while the scaffold was slowly absorbed. A tri-layered structure remained in place after the scaffolding was gone and no abnormalities were observed. The women responded to a questionnaire with responses in the normal range in regard to arousal, lubrication, orgasm and painless intercourse. Most significantly, the patients reported high satisfaction with the replacement vaginas. …via IFLSci
Doctors have given a woman a new windpipe with tissue grown from her own stem cells, eliminating the need for anti-rejection drugs.
“This technique has great promise,” said Dr. Eric Genden, who did a similar transplant in 2005 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. That operation used both donor and recipient tissue. Only a handful of windpipe, or trachea, transplants have ever been done.