TBS Newsbot

3D printing creates substance that replicates brain and lungs

A brand new 3D printing technique has managed to mimic human tissue, with researchers saying that it could be used to recreate organs wholesale.



The problem with freezing yourself for a later date (other than hitting up your great-great-great-great-great-great-great nephew for an Astrocouch to crash on), is that your internal organs tend to eventually turn to a useless meaty goo. I’m no cryogenic expert, but once that happens, I’d imagine you’d sit in the back of the freezer for all eternity. You’d be no better than those unbranded sausages you bought and abandoned. And that’s not good, meat face.

However, the solution for this pickle is by application of the other polarising advancement of our time: 3D Printing.

Zhengchu Tan is one of those who hope to play god with defrosted meat. He said: “At the moment we have created structures a few centimetres in size, but ideally we’d like to create a replica of a whole organ using this technique.”

Tan hails from the Imperial College in London, an institution that believes ‘scaffolding’ might be the means to take the next step to dance around that issue. Ostensibly, they’ve managed to create a compound that mimics the unique nature of human tissue. Which is the issue, as matching the structure and softness of the tissue has long crippled transplant procedures, leading to the body rejecting the interloping limb. Using this scaffold would act as a template for regeneration, as the body would be unable to tell the difference, it would just heal over the scaffold. The beauty of the advancement is that the fake tissue is universal, which theoretically means that important organs can be recreated wholesale.

A new brain or lungs for you, sir?


As displayed in the image above, the process involves printing a hydrogel ink (a,b), cooling it with dry ice (c) and after thawing the compound, it becomes the human tissue mimic (d).

Dr Antonio Elia Forte, one of the researchers from the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial, said: “Cryogenics is the novel aspect of this technology – it uses the phase change between liquid and solid to trigger polymerisation and create super soft objects that can hold their shape. This means that the technology has a wide variety of possible uses.”

Or, in pedestrian English, start saving those pennies for cryogenic freezing.