3D printing technology has been used to make toys, auto parts, and other goods.  Now it's ears.

Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have had a breakthrough in how they make human tissue. They're using 3D printing to build tissues and organs for patients in need.

Dr. Anthony Atala is the director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and senior author on the study. He says the technology uses a patient's own cells as printing material, which eliminates rejection and deflects ethical concerns.

“In the current work, we basically printed structures with a wide range of strengths," says Atala. "We printed soft tissue such as muscle, medium-strength tissue such as cartilage which is also elastic, and bone tissue which is really hard. The hope for us is that we continue to apply these technologies to other tissues as well.”

This project was in part funded by the Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine, in hopes to quickly create tissues for wounded warriors, as well as civilians



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