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Print a Kidney but not with a cosmetic laser

Cosmetic laser printer, not with human kidneys though

cosmetic laser

I just watched an amazing video, in which Anthony Atala, on TED, printed a kidney, on stage, while speaking about his latest technology cosmetic laser printer. Or so I thought……………….
Cosmetic Surgeon – Anthony Atala demonstrated an early-stage experiment that could someday solve the organ-donor problem: a 3D printer, rather than a cosmetic laser, that uses living cells to output a transplantable kidney and it seemed real, he even handled it at the end of the show using latex gloves as one would a real kidney, which we all thought it was.

Rather than a cosmetic laser, a similar technology

Using similar Cosmetic Surgery technology, Dr. Atala’s young patient Luke Massella, who features in the presentation, received an engineered bladder 10 years ago.

Anthony Atala asks, “Can we grow organs instead of transplanting them?”

His lab at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is doing just that — engineering over 30 tissues and whole organs as part of a Cosmetic Surgery breakthrough.

Anthony Atala is the director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where his work focuses on growing and regenerating tissues and organs. His team engineered the first lab-grown organ to be implanted into a human — a bladder — and is developing experimental fabrication technology that can “print” human tissue on demand.

In 2007, Atala and a team of Harvard University researchers showed that stem cells can be harvested from the amniotic fluid of pregnant women. This and other breakthroughs in the development of smart bio-materials and tissue fabrication technology promises to revolutionize the practice of medicine.
“Anthony Atala bakes things that will make you feel good inside, but we’re not talking cakes and muffins.”
The Australian ran the story under the title – “Surgeon creates new kidney on stage “
This is what was reported -
A SURGEON specialising in regenerative medicine yesterday “printed” a real kidney using a machine that eliminates the need for donors when it comes to organ transplants.
“It’s like baking a cake,” Anthony Atala of the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine said as he cooked up a fresh kidney on stage at a conference in the California city of Long Beach.
Scanners are used to take a 3D image of a kidney that needs replacing, then a tissue sample about half the size of postage stamp is used to seed the computerised process, Atala explained.
The organ “printer” then works layer-by-layer to build a replacement kidney replicating the patient’s tissue.
College student Luke Massella was among the first people to receive a printed kidney during experimental research a decade ago when he was just 10 years old.
He said he was born with spina bifida and his kidneys were not working.
“Now, I’m in college and basically trying to live life like a normal kid,” said Massella, who was reunited with Atala at the conference.
“This surgery saved my life and made me who I am today.”
About 90 per cent of people waiting for transplants are in need of kidneys, and the need far outweighs the supply of donated organs, according to Atala.
“There is a major health crisis today in terms of the shortage of organs,” Atala said. “Medicine has done a much better job of making us live longer, and as we age our organs don’t last.”

But search of the Wake Forest University – school of medicine – website, reveals that media reports on kidney printing, and thus the demonstration, were inaccurate.
The website declares :-
Reports in the media that Dr. Anthony Atala printed a real kidney at the TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., are completely inaccurate. At the conference, Dr. Atala used a new type of technology to print a kidney-shaped mould and explained how one day – many years from now – the technology might be used to print actual organs.

At the conference, Atala was reunited with a former patient who received a laboratory-engineered bladder 10 years ago. News reports are incorrectly saying that he received a printed kidney.

Reports that bioprinting will eliminate the need for organ donation are also false. While this technology shows promise, it will be many years before it could be applied to patients.
The technology has the ability to print cells and biocompatible materials at the same time.

This is a 3D printer unlike a cosmetic laser as used in other areas of cosmetic surgery

. What the cosmetic laser does for our external organs then the 3D bioprinting will do for our internal organs. The hope is that one day the 3D cosmetic laser will be used to print tissues and organs. This demonstration, in which a kidney-shaped mould is printed, shows how the technology works:
• Cells and biomaterials are inserted in the printer cartridges.
• A CT scan from a patient would be used to create a “map” to guide the printer.
• The 3D cosmetic laser printer “prints” biocompatible materials that form the kidney shape.
• While this mould has the shape of a kidney, it is not functional because it has none of the vessels or internal structures.
One of the most complex challenges in the development of the bio-printer was to position the cell dispensing capillary tip attached to the print head and was developed using a computer-controlled, laser-based calibration system.
So Cosmetic Surgery and cosmetic laser or 3D printing have still some way to go before we see it used in something as complicated as a kidney.

Further Recommended Reading about Cosmetic laser

Some point of interest about Facial Laser

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