This was the headline of an article in the guardian today, linked on drudge. As dubious as the guardian can be, this is an interesting development, as the organ was not printed, but "grown" according to the article. I would like to see some research that compares these two nascent methodologies of tissue creation laying out pros and cons. Good luck today.
The next trials could prove to be a leap from the rat study, as the plan is to use the cellular scaffolding of a pig kidney — similar to what was done in the research with rats — but to repopulate the organ with human cells.
Even once that step is complete, however, the researchers will not be able to promise bio-artificial human kidneys in the near future. "I don't think our place in this organ regeneration effort is to figure it all out, but to show it's a valid platform to get everyone on board — stem cell scientists, transplant surgeons," says Dr. Harald C. Ott, the surgeon and researcher at the Mass. General Center for Regenerative Medicine who led the team that did the study, which was published online on Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine. "My hope is that with this proof of principle, people become aware... and start working on this problem."
Other research groups are working on similar methods to create working organs in the lab. Competing labs are using 3D bioprinters to create the framework for the new organs. "With a 3D bioprinter, you wouldn't require donor organs," said Dr. Anthony Atala, a pioneer in the technology at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina. "The printer also lets you be very precise in where the cells go." Ultimately, all research in the field is focused on the same goal — saving, potentially, thousands of lives a year by allowing people to get new organs without languishing on donor lists, and creating their new kidneys, livers, even hearts, with their own cells to get around the danger of organ rejection. Doctors have already managed to replace more simple body parts — surgeons in Spain replaced a woman's collapsed windpipe with one created in a lab. Major organs could very well be next.
here is more to the story that was not printed in the more popular article: In a breakthrough with the potential to save many thousands of lives, scientists have "grown" a kidney that produced urine both in the lab and after being transplanted into a rat. The new kidneys were created by stripping old kidneys of their cells and pumping the remaining "scaffold" with new cells that regrew the organ, the New York Times reports. Vast amounts of research still needs to be done, but scientists believe this is a major step toward creating replacement kidneys for people. The lab-grown kidneys were only about 5% as effective as normal ones, but researchers say that restoring a fraction of function could be enough for many patients.
while amazing in its own right, the one thing I took away from the research done in growing rat kidneys was that they still needed a donor to create the scaffolding, and they needed several other donors in order to get the cells they needed to grow a new kidney. this technique, if perfected, could someday be used to create "new" organs and compete with ONVO, but for now I see the two technologies at about the same stage in their development, with ONVO clearly further along in the ability to monetize through its current relationships and planned assay products, no donor required.