This is old news but these people are still making the news, now they have developed fully working organs, the scientist over at Invetech created a printer that copies out and prints out cells in any type of desired pattern.
Basically think of it this way, while we are pretty good at creating flat surfaces of skin, (we grow them in a lab) it’s been difficult and up till 2009, close to impossible to create a 3D organ. lets look at a cinder block and compare that to a cell. We are pretty darn good at making houses out of the cinder blocks, but that’s because we can hold out the block, and stick it together using cement. Now the same can’t be said for Cells. They are much much smaller and for some reason when you try to build it in a 3D model it all collapses. So the scientist first had to develop a way to build a sort of scaffold and that’s only 1/4th of the process. Next they had to build the cells in the scaffold but finally they managed to get it all together the exert below is from their 2009 article.
The printer, developed by Invetech, fits inside a standard biosafety cabinet for sterile use. It includes two print heads, one for placing human cells, and the other for placing a hydrogel, scaffold, or support matrix. One of the most complex challenges in the development of the printer was being able to repeatedly position the capillary tip, attached to the print head, to within microns. This was essential to ensure that the cells are placed in exactly the right position. Invetech developed a computer controlled, laser-based calibration system to achieve the required repeatability. read more here RDMAG
now all they need to figure out is how to build the plumbing, “the veins” of the structure… they have much more to go but they are almost there.