The move toward organ-on-a-chip tech is now reality, something that augers not only astounding advances in clinical testing and deeper understanding on how life does business but also sets up the start point for the creation of new organs created from patient's stem cells as needs warrant.
3D printing is truly the new frontier of construction and material development. Its latest feat: synthetic organ tissue that can accurately mimic human cells’ structure and function. The development, by researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), is detailed in Nature Materials.
These organs-on-chips are synthetic replacements for hearts, livers, bone, cartilage, and other tissues. The first-ever “heart-on-a-chip” is constructed from a 3D printed structure with multiple wells that contain separate tissues and sensors, which provide non-invasive, electronic readouts on structures within the body. The tissues are printed from six different inks that integrate soft strain sensors into the printed structure of tissue.
Systems mimicking tissue from the lungs, tongues, and intestines have also been developed. The researchers report that the process is easily repeatable and can be customized to create other types of organs.