Not yet, but it could be on the way:
A tissue-engineering group has succeeded in creating functional blood vessels and cardiac tissue, using a 'printer' that dispenses cells instead of ink. The work, published this month in Tissue Engineering, is among the first to produce functional three-dimensional tissue using a printer, and a milestone on the way to the goal of printing out whole organs.
Gabor Forgacs from the University of Missouri in Columbia and his colleagues printed various tissue structures, including blood vessels and sheets of cardiac tissue. When they printed out cardiac and endothelial cells, the cells fused into a tissue after 70 hours, and began beating in time like regular heart tissue after 90 hours.
What makes this work different from that done in most other tissue-engineering labs is that Forgacs's team does everything without a scaffold — they don't start with an object shaped like the tissue or organ they are aiming to create, but instead plan to print the whole thing from scratch, from the vasculature up. This should make it easier to print any type of organ, they say, as they don't have to develop different scaffolds for each tissue type. "Often when you implant a scaffold you get inflammation," says Forgacs. Read the rest...