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3D Printing Organs…In Space!

The International Business Times reports on a recent development made by NASA’s International Space Station (ISS).

Apparently, the ISS “has teamed up with a medical institute to explore the possibility of creating 3D-printed human organs in space. If successful, the study would revolutionize the fight against diseases.”

This initiative was spearheaded by the Director for the University of Pittsburgh’s McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine William Wagner.  The focus of Wagner and the ISS’s project “will be to create organs in space using stem cells”

As Wagner elaborates: “one of the possible early applications of 3D printing in the biomedical industry would be the creation of miniature versions of full-sized organs.  These small versions, which can handle a portion of the real organs’ functions, could be used to analyze exactly how they are affected by diseases.  In turn, pharmaceutical groups could turn to these 3D printed organs to develop specific disease-fighting drugs.”

Other applications could include “the creation of replacement organs.  This would certainly end the problem of donor shortages affecting organ transplants.”

Wagner hopes “this upcoming project, as well as future research regarding 3D printed organs, will gain enough financial support in order to push through and succeed.” It remains to be seen if the full funds will materialize for Wagner’s team and NASA.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of The International Business Times

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