CALIFORNIA (CBS 11 NEWS) - You've heard of 3-D printers making cars, even houses. But a new company in California is taking the technology a step further and making organ tissue in labs.
"Organovo creates functional human tissues with its unique bio printing technology," says CEO Keith Murphy. He says, it's like ink jet, except instead of ink, they put in real human cells. "What the bio-printer does is it actually positions cells and puts them in the right place and we can make an entire structure that turns into a living tissue," says Murphy.
The technology is still evolving. Right now, the cells and tissues made in this lab are used for drug research and toxicology tests. But someday, Murphy hopes that Organovo will be able to make tissues and organs used for transplants. "Over time we hope to build something that's larger and larger, now one of the challenges is going to be able to build blood vessels inside of these larger tissues," he says.
But the technology gives hope to people like Fernanda Magana. Her daughter Nancy got a rare full lung transplant when she was just 8 weeks old after a long wait for the organ. Doctors say Nancy might need another lung transplant when she grows older. Fernanda is hopeful, "that's another hope" she says, "the day she got the lung transplant was the day she was born."
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