3D Printer Used To Make Tiny Human Liver

If you were one of those people who thought that 3D printing would take off in a big way, you have plenty of evidence to back you up these days. The printers have been used to create the things you'd expect, like guns and phone cases, but they've also been used to create an exoskeleton that helped a toddler with a rare disease use her arms. Recently, they've been used to create liquid tissue scaffolding to help with the creation of artificial tissue. Now, scientists have created a tiny human liver with the help of a 3D printer that can build objects with cells.

Video credit: New Scientist

According to New Scientist, the liver was created by San Diego-based Organovo and announced at the Aspet Experimental Biology conference. The tiny liver can live for at least five days and is able to perform many of the functions of a full-size liver, but creating a full-sized liver with a 3D printer still faces challenges. For one thing, creating the equivalent of blood vessels is easier in a tiny liver than it would be in a full-sized liver. The company plans to eventually produce real livers with the 3D printing technology.