Chinese scientists have announced a step forward in the field of regenerative medicine for their nation. Researchers from eastern china have revealed a 3D Bio-Printer which uses a biological gel as its building material, to create and form rudimentary organs and body parts, Reuters reports.
With scandal surrounding Chinese institutions in charge of organ donation, allegedly demanding money from hospitals for successful transplants, and the phasing out of China’s controversial policy of harvesting the organs of prisoners executed by the state by 2015, this new technology could well prove to be the saviour of a system which will only be placed under more strain in the next decade.
But the technology is still a long way off. With the researchers estimating between 15 and 20 years before the printer can achieve the required precision and complexity needed to print organs capable of fulfilling the necessary functions. As well as this, these printed organs will need to successfully integrate with the existing tissue and organs of the patient. And all this is still then dependent on advances in stem cell technology required to develop the vast number of cells required to print functioning organs actually proceeding as predicted.
For the next two decades then, China, and the rest of the world, will need to look to other strategies for increasing the availability of donor organs to patients.