Grow Your Own…Blood Vessels?


Using your own stem cells—extracted from your fat or bone marrow—a San Diego company called Organovo is offering a $200,000 bioprinter that prints human tissue in 3D. While the current model, which ships this year, can only handle simple stuff like blood vessels, printing up whole organs is very close. From the always fascinating and jauntily written H+ magazine, notification that custom organ printing is upon us:

Yes, artificial organs… kidneys, esophagi, bladders, muscles, cartilage, ureters, glands, trachea, bone, breast lung, uterus, testes, nerves, livers, and even hearts. Need a new retina? Print one. Technovelgy points out that artificial organs have appeared in SF since Philip K. Dick wrote about artiforgs in his 1964 novel Cantata 140 (a.k.a. The Crack in Space) and Larry Niven described artificially-grown organs in his 1968 novel A Gift From Earth. Once again, science fiction is rapidly becoming science fact.

Ronald Bailey mentioned Organov's organ printing tech is his dispatch from the future earlier this week, but it's so cool that I thought it deserved a post of its own right here in the present.

NEXT: Guess Which Republican Congressman Is Violating the GOP Earmark Moratorium?

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  1. Meh. I’ve been growing my own blood vessels my whole life.

  2. In other news, Lexmark will release a home version for $175.00. Unfortunately the four DNA component cartridges will be $11,000 apiece, and only let you print something about the size of a tonsil before needing to be replaced.

    1. Cable ($2500) not included.

  3. Why buy a $200,000 bioprinter when you can just use an old inkjet printer?


  4. I see young goth couples grafting themselves to each other with a common circulatory system, body-modders growing vast nets of veins outside their skin, and babies with external aortas on the back of their necks that can be pinched to make them fall asleep.

  5. How hard would it be to build a device using similar tech that produced large quantities of functional O- blood without requiring live donors? I’m not asking for personal reasons, mind you, just simple curiosity.

  6. So, it’ll be a few decades before you have one of these in your home first aid kit, is what you’re saying?

    On the other hand, once they get the organ bit perfected (assuming Obamacare doesn’t blow them all to hell) we’ll never have to read another article about legalizing organ donation.

  7. So…when can we print out the jail-bait?

    1. Presumably any complete human you could print, regardless of physical development, would be the most extreme possible case of jailbait in the mental sense. As in, less mentally developed than a newborn. You may as well drop the brain altogether and just fuck a giant warm human-shaped bag of meat*.

      * you sick fuck.

      1. (ahem) Some of us already do that. 😉

    2. So…when can we print out the jail-bait?

      Better print out a new pecker first, dude – young stuff doesn’t like wet noodles.

      1. I’ll give you ten to one odds that the technological development is driven by a 50/50 split in demand, with half of it being internal organs and the other half new dicks.

        1. The problem is blood pressure, not any muscular dystrophy.

        2. Which is why Viagra doesn’t require a dick transplant.

          1. Allow me to rephrase then, bigger dicks

            1. Don’t you have to scan it first, then blow it up in 3D software and reprint?

              And why hasn’t anybody grown some really huge-ass boobs on here yet?

              I’m seriously disappointed in this place. Use your imagination people.

    3. Adobee proudly introduces PornoShop? for Windows 7 and OS XXX.

  8. No worries Obamacare will kill this research right away.

  9. Dispach from 2050:
    “The government still has not approved the purchase of Indian-made organ printers, given that excess demand would cause inequalities in their ability to distribute the service of these printers to the general population. Said Government Health Czar Louise Obama Pelosi Jr.: “Our health care system is founded upon equity and fairness for all patients. If we can’t provide organs for everyone, then we don’t feel it would be fair to provide them to only a few people. Perhaps in a few years after the European market buys more and brings down the cost, we will be able to purchase a sufficient supply for the whole population.” market analysts, however, said that the continuing fiscal crisis and policy of repeated dollar devaluations renders it unlikely that the price of such machines will drop. Indeed, most think it will rise. Meanwhile the manufactuers said that the loss of the contract doesn’t impact their bottom lines as the emerging markets in subsaharan Afria can out purchase the United States.

    1. Sad, because it could be true.

  10. Save on print cartridges. Buy an incubator, and print embryos. Be the first on your block to have a T-Rex.

    They’re cute when they’re young.

  11. I hope Obama’s death panels give access to these blood vessels when I need them.

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