3D Bioprinting Produces Unlimited Varieties of Human Organs and Tissues

Updated on September 28, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty uses advanced degrees in preventive medicine, psychology, and TCM in research and treatment for public and private health agencies.

From Trinkets to Brains

Back in the 1990s, Americans first heard in the media about capillary beds that were printed from simple computer printers, including printers made for home use.

In 2016, 3D computers could make practically anything. Home units were selling well and public libraries began offering a 3D printer and materials to the public with which to create toys, figurines, chess pieces, and large items.

Soon, we may be able to 3D bio-print all the organs and tissues needed to assemble a human or animal body.

Inkjet Blood Vessels

While we heard about printing out blood cells in the 1990s, it was not until 2002 that this notion was seriously addressed. If you recall, Professor Makoto Nakamura observed that small drops inkjet printer inks approach the size of human tissue cells.

The professor tinkered with inkjet printers until he has a technology in 2008 that was perhaps the first bio-printer. With it, he printed some bio-tubing that came out like a capillary. The world was on its way to bio-printing additional tissues and organs.

The Printed Capillary

Brain Replacements and Transplants Since the 1960s

The scientific world produced speculative remarks about human brain and head transplants during the summer of 2016. Too much of the public, this notion sounds like science fiction or rubbish. Still, some of the skeptics would like to preserve and use their brains as long as possible, perhaps even inside a new body. In the 2010s, we do not know yet whether this is possible.

During the early 1960s, Soviet Union scientists were experimenting with brain transplants and news of this came back to America, but was not widely disseminated in the media. A few schools received the information from visiting professors and Russian teachers. One experiment involved transplanting a portion of a dog's brain into a human brain, but the dog brain tissue died.

Little has been accomplished in brain transplantation worldwide to date, but brain human mapping is nearly complete. This may be a first step toward rejuvenating or replacing portions of damaged brains.


The human brain has been almost completely mapped and plans in 2016 called for 3D printing an entire such brain (Reference: Business Insider. July 20, 2016).

In speculative and science fiction, the author Cordwainer Smith (Professor Paul Linebarger) wrote of developing new brain tissues via melding of human and animal brains in his stories of the IOM (Instrumentality of Mankind). Written in the early 1960s, these stories may be based in the news of the Soviet brain transplant research.

The Italian scientist, Dr. Sergio Canavero, announced that he may be able to conduct a head transplant in 2017 for a willing Russian man. At the same time, bio-printing companies the world over seek to create viable brain tissues.

Regenerative Medicine Since World War II

Regenerative medicine is the study and practice of helping human beings replace or regenerate damaged or missing parts of their bodies.

In medical and biology classes, we heard of early regeneration studies in France in the 1940s during World War II. These were animal based studies conducted to determine how missing arms and legs could eventually be regenerated for human war victims.

To our knowledge, the closest the French came to complete regeneration is the scenario in which a rat's front leg was severed. A few toes grew on the stump of one rat at least, and another such rat reportedly grew a complete foot on the leg stump (analogous to the human shoulder). We have no documentation of reasons for the length of the leg not growing back between the "shoulder" and the new foot or toes.

After the 1940s, the French studies ended; but today, many nations are perfecting the regeneration of spinal nerves in humans. In addition, the scientists of these countries are perfecting not only prostheses for humans and animals - even dolphins - but perfecting ways of growing completely new organs from stem cells and other biological materials. One way of "growing" a new organ is to print it from a computerized printer in thin layers.

Not only can new tissues be printed in ever increasing sizes as the science evolves, but through using CT and MRI scans, medical scientists will soon be able to print individualized tissues that will fit the patient like a missing puzzle piece.


Leading Centers for Regenerative Medicine

>The Mayo Clinic: Arizona and Florida

>Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM): Research Triangle, North Carolina

>Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM)

>Massachusetts General Hospital

>The Ohio State University College of Medicine

3D Printer Developed in 1984

The term "1984" is the title of the famous novel of warning from George Orwell. It is also a year of many inventions. The Super Bowl ads of that year emphasized the new personal computers.

Later in 1984, the first 3D printer was developed for manufacturing applications. In several years, a simple personal PC printer was used to print out blood cells.

Charles Hull, a co-founder of 3D Systems, invented the 3D printer. The first organs were printed in this technique in Wake Forest, North Carolina in 1999. Today, the regenerative medicine program at Wake Forest Baptist Research and Teaching Hospital is part of the Biomedical and Bio-engineering Departments and Graduate Schools of Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University. Human and animal tissue and organ production and replacement are some of its top specialties.

Now we can print organs and purchase a 3D printer for home use on small projects. Some public libraries even have them, including the Westerville Public Library in Central Ohio.

Progress From 2009 to 2013

The first 3D printed blood vessel was made in 2009 and the first such human jaw was implanted in The Netherlands in 2012.


A toddler boy in Youngstown, Ohio received the first-ever biodegradable airway made by Michigan doctors out of special plastic particles and their 3-D bioprinter in 2012.


By 2013, Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, a plastic surgeon at Langone Medical Center in New York, had performed a face transplant for a firefighter, using 3D printed materials.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bones 3D printed around 2013.Artificial skin can be so sensitive that it can feel a butterfly landing. 3d printed natural skin will likely be able to do so.Facial parts have been sculpted by dentists for man years. 3D printers can do many of these tasks now.
Bones 3D printed around 2013.
Bones 3D printed around 2013. | Source
Artificial skin can be so sensitive that it can feel a butterfly landing. 3d printed natural skin will likely be able to do so.
Artificial skin can be so sensitive that it can feel a butterfly landing. 3d printed natural skin will likely be able to do so. | Source
Facial parts have been sculpted by dentists for man years. 3D printers can do many of these tasks now.
Facial parts have been sculpted by dentists for man years. 3D printers can do many of these tasks now. | Source

Top Rated Bio-Engineering Companies That Bioprint

Company Name
What Bioprinter Makes
Bioficial tissues via bio-ink: liver and kidney tissues
San Diego. Printed the first blood vessel.
Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine
A multitude of different human tissues.
North Carolina
Cyfuse Biomedical/Regenova
Nerves, blood vesses, skin, several organs, eye tissues, bone, cartilage.
Tokyo and San Diego
Desktop bioprinters and bio-inks.
Stanford Univeristy
Artificial skin since 2010; embedded sesors send "touch" feeling to human brains.
Stanford, California
University of Toronto
Aspect Biosystems
Several human tissues.
Univeristy of British Columbia
3D Bioprinting Solutions
Organs, beginning with thyroid glands.
Russia and USA
South Korea
Breast tissue, heart and lung tissues, wound healing.
TeVido Nanodevices
Nipple tissue
3Dynamic Systems
Bone tissue and regenerative medicine.
Swansea University, United Kingdom
Modern Meadow
Bioprinting leather and meat.
Skull and jaw/face repair, female pelvic diaphragm repair, urethra repair, hernia repair, artificial skin, blood vessels, and ligaments.
Frankfurt am Main, GermanyChina

Dr. Gabor Forgacs's Work at Oraganovo

Life is the biggest mystery of our generation.

— Biobots motto

What is Your Opinion?

Would you consider receiving 3D printed tissues or organs in the future?

See results

Questions & Answers

    © 2016 Patty Inglish MS


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

        Patty Inglish MS 

        22 months ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

        Hi Peggy: I like the idea of printing parts of, or whole organs when none are available for transplant. This will all be great if not abused somehow - like overcharging patients for parts like some auto garages.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        22 months ago from Houston, Texas

        3D Printing has come a long way since its inception. I think it is great if it is used to help with prosthesis and even more exciting if it can be proven to regenerate missing parts. The future looks bright. Science fiction seems to be coming closer to reality with each passing year.

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        Nobel Prize physiology 2017... 3D Bioprinting-Immortality (biological timers)... Forever young with modified Biological Timers... Which are the biological timers?, where are them? (genes, hypothalamus...), how functioning them?, how can modify them (telomerase...) for maintenance the hormones production, enzymes, cellular regeneration...all Eternity at same level of the 18 years old?... Have to accelerate Research about Memory and the Space´s Colonization... Immortality comes...

      • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

        Patty Inglish MS 

        3 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

        Lawrence - I think replacing parts of a human brain will be risky, notably I think that if a certain threshold of brain area is replaced, we'll get a different person after replacement. Such a replacement may tell us that the soul or spirit is indeed in the brain, but it's a dreadful way of proof. Will it be murder?

      • profile image

        Lawrence Hebb 

        3 years ago


        These things are amazing, but they also open a whole 'can of worms' with what you talk about regarding some of these procedures.

        Using stem cells to 'regenerate' body parts is amazing, by the way skin grafts during ww2 would probably be regarded as the first 'organ regeneration'.

        The 'can of worms' is with the idea of replacing parts of the brain, that leads to the question, "Is the soul seperate to brain function?"

        Just a thought.


      • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

        Patty Inglish MS 

        3 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

        Hi robertatalioni -- I just also saw a picture of a man who had a double arm transplant in Ohio (pretty neat!). Head transplants seem unwieldy and not sure to work, so that one will be hard to accept.

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        These developments are interesting. We live in amazing time but progress with prosthesis certainly seem much more possible than head transplants.

      • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

        Patty Inglish MS 

        3 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

        @teaches12345 - I think the inventions we are referencing would be a miracle for people who were exposed to health hazards through no choice of their own - like Tom Brokaw exposed to radiation as a child when the govt did nuclear tests, like people who were exposed to second hand smoke and pollution as children, like employees exposed to hazardous chemicals that lead to cancer (the newest of which would be the tar sands coming through the Keystone XL Pipeline). These people don't deserve to be sick.

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 

        3 years ago

        I've seen a few 3D printing creations and they are quite well done. I am amazed about the technology advancement in organs and tissues. I believe this would benefit many but would like to see more research and results. Thanks for the education, very interesting to read.

      • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

        Patty Inglish MS 

        3 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

        @FlourishAnyway - That is a miracle! Much success to your daughter, the other students, and the school and faculty. It is also gratifying to hear about people being helped at no cost.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image


        3 years ago from USA

        Great hub and it is a reality. My daughter is a high school engineering student in a Governor's Academy and is working on a 3D hand prosthesis for a specific person, as are other students. It's incredible to see them put their knowledge into action at no cost to the recipient.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)