NASA is making good progress in 3D printing technologies for artificial organs in space

Researchers from the US space agency Successfully 3D printed tissues from a human liver. Similar experience You may soon see daylight on the International Space Station. The NASA He dreams that one day astronauts will be able to print their own prosthetic organs with complete independence in space.

Soon to print artificial organs from space?

In the United States, 17 people die every day while waiting for an organ transplant. Many researchers are trying to find a solution to overcome the shortage of donors. Among the most innovative, There is 3D bioprinting of artificial organsأعضاء. This is not science fiction, prosthetics have been printed in the past. In 2019, the American biotechnology company BIOLIFE4D He announced that he succeeded in creating the microscopic human heartThanks to 3D bioprinting technology.

Six years ago, NASA launched the Vascular Tissue Challenge, a competition to accelerate research on the topic. The purpose is actually the manufacture of artificial organs. Last week, the US space agency named two winning teams. Challenge consists To form thick and vascularized human organ tissue that is able to survive for at least 30 days. Winston and WFIRM, two teams from the Wake Forest Institute of Medicine, used different 3D printing techniques to create the implanted tissue in the lab.

A real challenge for the upcoming space missions

Anthony Atala WFIRM Team Leader and Director of Wake Forest Institute, stated that: “We took two different approaches. These two approaches differ in the way angiogenesis is performed. One uses tubular structures and the other uses spongy tissue structures to facilitate the delivery of nutrients into cells and removal of cells. The challenge was not easy to meet, especially since the human liver is definitely The most complex organ for reproduction due to the large number of functions it performs “.

Printing of artificial organs and tissues presents a real challenge to NASA. In fact, this technology may be essential for upcoming space missions. ESA, for example, is working on 3D printing of bones and skin for upcoming missions to Mars. It’s important to print prosthetics, but Astronauts will also have to be self-sufficient in food. For this reason, NASA launched the Deep Space Food Challenge, which aims to develop sustainable food options for long-duration manned missions.

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A new challenge reminds us of that Astronauts have already managed to print a steak in space. Farm animals cannot be raised in a spacecraft. That’s why Such a discovery could allow humans to extend the duration of tasks In order to reach. For now, these are just experiments… It will be a long time before astronauts can implant artificial tissues or eat their favorite burgers thanks to 3D bioprinting.

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