World’s First 3D-Bioprinted Organ to Be Transplanted in Early 2015

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( — November 12, 2014)  —  Skolkovo, Russia – The researchers from the Russian laboratory “3D Bioprinting Solutions” announced they would have the first 3D bio-printed organ transplantation results published on May 15 next year.

According to the laboratory head of research, Vladimir Mironov, the thyroid gland has been selected as the first bio-printed organ, due to its simplicity.  

“We’ll start with mice,” said Mironov in a recent interview to KP daily (Komsomolskaya Pravda). “We already have a plan for how to test it: we’ll shut off the thyroid with radioactive iodine, which will cause the level of hormones in the organism to drop. We’ll then transplant the printed structure, and if the level of hormones gets back to normal, we will be celebrating with champagne,” said Mironov.

3D bio-printers use stem cells as normal printer would use ink. The printer head releases the layers of stem cells, extracted from fat tissue. The cells are layered onto hydrogel, which then dissolves, and the printed organ is placed into a special bio-reactor, where it matures.

There is no risk for 3D printed organs to be rejected by the body as they are made out of the patient’s own, stem cells.

Starting with the thyroid gland, the Russian professor already has aspirations to receive a Nobel Prize for creating a “functional” kidney, which he announced could be ready in 2018.

“The one who is the first to print and then successfully transplant the kidney to the patient – who stays alive – will for sure get a Nobel prize,” Mironov told KP. He emphasizes that 3D bio-printed kidney will have a greater impact in medicine, as thyroid diseases are rarely fatal, while kidney malfunctions kill millions.

There are many laboratories in the world that experiment with the 3D bio-printers, however, the Russian technology is unique as it has the capacity to accommodate all known methods and approaches to 3D bioprinting, Mironov said earlier. Russian researchers also plan to create a new magnetic generation of such printers, to be used in space.

The thing is that current 3D bio-layering is influenced by gravity, so Russian scientists are developing a special magnetic field, which will allow creation of more complex organs, as cells put in the weightlessness of space can form a desired organ themselves, with the help of a special magnetic field to hold them at one place.

Such tests are already approved to be carried out aboard the International Space Station, Mironov says.