Growing Organs in the LabToday, many biological and medical engineers have ongoing research programs in the field of organs growing or organs 3D printing. This method emerged from the big demand for compatible organs. Many people loose their lives because the waiting list for organs is too big. Biological and medical engineers around the world are working to make this the reality of tomorrow, for the patients of today.

How is this possible? It is a simple, thus extremely complex process. Scaffolds from humans are the base of organ growing. For a soft organ, scientists use a sick liver, as a base to grow new cells around the connective tissues and the blood vessels. They grew the new organ with collagen cells. It has the aspect and feelings of a liver, but the process is slowed down, because scientists have not figured out yet how to grow the specific cells that compose a liver. The next step is to inject the cells of the patient in the empty organ. Although it sounds like a simple process, these cells are not accessible at any time. They are most common found in the stem cells, taken from the cord at birth, but not all the elder population in the world had this technology available at the moment of their birth. The hope is that someday scientists will discover an easier way to harvest the needed cells or the specific chemicals that grow into cells. This process might be easier in the future for the younger population, as the amniotic fluid and the cord blood can be stored for many years in medical banks.

In continuation, two more steps are needed for the organ to become compatible with the patient. First, a blood sample has to be inserted in the vessels of the grown organ, so that the patient’s body will accept it as its own. The second step is the actual transplant or replacement of the sick organ with the one grown in the lab.