Last March, a report was published that Professor Vladimir Mironov transplanted the first-ever 3D printed thyroid into a mouse. This week, it was reported that not only did the mouse thyroid transplant surgery go relatively smoothly, but that the 3D printed thyroid gland is completely functional. The news has exciting implications for the future of medicine, Russian scientists, along with the rest of the world, set their sights on 3D printing functional human organs next.
Mironov is a tissue engineer and the scientific director at 3D Bioprinting Solutions, a Russian laboratory of biotechnology research that is dedicated to advancements in 3D bioprinting and medical applications of 3D printing, that could eventually see us 3D printing life-saving organs for us in complex transplant surgeries. Though they decided to start with the thyroid, a relatively simple organ, the success of this surgery opens them up to the possibility of 3D bioprinting kidneys, which could be reality as early as 2018, and 3D printed livers by 2019. However, the 3D printed thyroid is an important creation itself. the WHO estimates that 665 million people worldwide are affected by thyroid disorders, with 140,000 in Russia alone. While in some cases of thyroid diseases, patients can undergo a thyroidectomy, the surgical removal of the gland, those with thyroid dysfunctional caused by cancer cannot be treated with parhmacological therapy, nor with donor organ transplantation. This is because patients must receive immunosupression therapy that can actually speed up the development of cancer cells. However, Andrey Polyakov, head of the microsurgery department at the Moscow Oncology Research Institute, said that the transplantation of 3D printed organs and tissues shows great promise because it can be conducted without immunosuppression.Share