Need new skin? A new kidney? Just print one

Molly Wood Mar 7, 2011
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Need new skin? A new kidney? Just print one

Molly Wood Mar 7, 2011
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We speak to Dr. Anthony Atala from Wake Forest University. He and his team have been working on a method of printing new skin for burn victims. It uses technology very similar to what you might find on your old HP printer. In fact, he’s even using the same cartridges. He uses up all the ink, cleans it out, sterilizes it, then loads it up with cells and gel and prints skin on people.

The goal, and he thinks it’s a realistic one, is to print entire organs this way. So if you need a kidney, you won’t need to hunt all over the world for a perfect donor. Just print one. We’ve talked about 3D printing on the show before. It’s a technology that’s actually been around for a while. But organs? That’s new.

What struck us about talking to Dr. Atala, however, was how unfazed he seemed to be by what is clearly a pretty amazing idea. Not that he doesn’t care; he obviously cares a lot to work so hard on something like this. It just struck us as remarkable that someone can get used to an idea such as this. We called up our pal comedian Paul F. Tompkins to provide some answers.

Also in this program, George Lucas is releasing all the “Star Wars” movies in 3-D but John refuses to believe Episodes 1 through 3 exist.

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