A 3D-printed liver: not ready for prime time?

Additive manufacturing – also known as 3D-printing – has gained significant traction in commercial industries. In the medical community, there is promise of applying additive manufacturing techniques to tissue engineering, with the hope of developing replacement organs, ending the current unsatisfiable demand for transplants.

Organovo is a company developing 3D-bioprinted products for pharmacologic research and development, with a longer-term goal of developing printed tissue platforms. But is there truly a need for 3D-bioprinted products in this space? And is the idea of a 3D-printed organ merely a pipe dream?