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Surgeons and engineers join forces on 3-D organs

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2015 - Spring

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Yale surgeons and biomedical engineers are working with a biology company to develop 3-D printed tissues for transplant research. With demand for transplanted organs and tissues increasing and supplies shrinking, 3-D organs would shorten the amount of time patients would have to wait. Since the transplanted cells would come from the patient’s own body, the technology would eliminate the need for immunosuppressive drugs. “This field may provide a unique and new opportunity where we can print 3-D organs that can supplement or replace the shortage of organs out there worldwide,” said John P. Geibel, D.Sc., M.D., vice chair and director of surgical research and professor of surgery (gastrointestinal) and of cellular and molecular physiology at the School of Medicine. In the first phase of the collaboration with Organovo Holdings Inc., Yale researchers would develop 3-D arteries and veins that would replace plastic stents as connective tissue in transplants. The second phase of the project would involve printing an entire organ—the small intestine.