Building Tiny Human Organs With 3-D Printing

Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia has big ideas about her work with tiny organs. Using 3-D printing and human cells, she’s created a miniature liver — the size of a pinhead — in her lab at MIT that can be used for testing drugs.

Dr. Bhatia is part of a bio-engineering revolution that is transforming the field of medicine. She tells Here & Now host Jeremy Hobson that her goal is to scale up the size of the micro-liver so it can be used as an alternative to human-to-human liver transplants.

“We have built little human livers already that we can grow that contain about a million cells in animal experiments that we would then like to take to humans someday.”

“The livers we’ve built so far look a lot like a soft contact lens. We call them our contact lens livers, and they contain about a million liver cells. Your liver actually has about a hundred billion liver cells, so they need to be about a thousand times bigger.” … (Read more)