We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the possibility of 3D bioprinting organs, such as livers, kidneys and hearts. In fact, many experts within the medical field expect 3D printing to have progressed enough in the next ten years, to make all this possible. Researchers are already 3D printing parts of certain organs, and new discoveries are unveiled.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, the waiting list for kidney transplants currently stands at close to 100,000 individuals. End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) is responsible for over 90,000 deaths in the United States alone each year. Those are staggering numbers that researchers are hoping to eliminate, or at least cut in half. Six School of Engineering students at the University of Connecticut are taking a a very unique approach to the problem, one that requires 3D printing, but not in a biological sense. The six students, Danny Ung, Derek Chhiv, Guleid Awale, Meaghan Sullivan, Benjamin Coscia, and Ali Rogers, are working to create artificial kidneys.
Directed by Anson Ma, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Institute of Materials Science, the students have split into two teams of three, and over the last year have been working on a solution to save lives. One of the two teams decided to look into ways in which they could use hollow fiber membrane technology, the same technology used in current dialysis treatments, to create a solution. The other team used electrodialysis and forward osmosis technologies in their prototype device. … (Read more)