Human organs, made in labs
Location: Organovo Labs outlet, New Delhi, India
Heart- Ten Thousand Rupee
Kidney- Eight Thousand Rupee
Liver- Five Thousand Rupee
Eye- Two Thousand Rupee
Leg or Hand- One Thousand Rupee
No, this is not a scene from some cheap Sci-fi fiction movie. In fact, if the recent developments in the field of tissue engineering are any indication, the above might turn into reality sooner than we think.
Imagine a device, the size of an espresso machine, which instead of the coffee beans, feeds on some opaque, sterile substance that looks like goo. What does it churns out, you ask? Certainly not brew, that’s for sure. It churns out human organs. Heart, Kidney, Ear, Limbs, you name it and you have it, all at the press of a button. The machine we are talking about here is a 3D printer, and the sterile goo it feeds on is a mix of biodegradable polymer and collagen.
While smaller human organs and tissues like skin, blood vessels, bladders, trachea etc. are already being made in labs for a while now, Organovo Labs, headquartered in San Diego, have gone a step further and have developed, rather printed one of the more complex organs, a human liver.
3D printer till recent past, were being used to print several products like toys, food, machine parts etc. It is in only the last couple of years that scientists have progressed in using them for Bio-Engineering and medical fields, with encouraging success. The only real and immediate challenge before the scientists is to develop organs with the kind of durability and stability, which the body demands and becomes used to having over the years of use.
Hopefully, all the challenges would have been overcome, and the scene I described earlier, becomes a reality. It would be nothing short of the prayers being answered for the general public. A heart, for example, which now costs something around Three Lac Rupee, might be available for Five to ten thousand only.