Discover the first 3D printed lung | Sculpteo Blog

Discover the first 3D printed lung

Posted By Lucie Gaget on May 22, 2019 | 0 comments

A few weeks ago, we told you about the first 3D printed heart with human tissue. Today, we have other news for you: It might soon be possible to get a 3D printed lung. Yes, you are not dreaming, another medical revolution is actually taking its first breath thanks to additive manufacturing. Transplantable organs can be created using 3D printing and human lungs might not be the last organs printable.

Researchers work on a 3D printed lung, a device acting just like a real lung… Let’s take a closer look at this new step forward for the medical field.


3D printed organs will save lives


3D printing already allows to create perfectly adapted devices, prosthesis, and implants, but thanks to bioprinting, we could really go further… We already saw that it is possible to print human tissues and organs parts. The medical sector is really making the most of 3D printing. 3D printed heart, 3D bioprinted tissues, jaw reconstruction using 3D printing… The experiments made using this cutting-edge technology are numerous.


The advantages of 3D printing for organ transplantation is really game-changing and could be one of the biggest revolutions in the medical sector. Indeed, this process would offer the possibility to get a transplantable organ for the patient, when he needs it, without having to wait for a donor.


Bioprinting and even traditional 3D printing can really save lives, by providing adapted organs for the patients, made with their cells, which avoid the risks of organ rejection. Patients just would just have to wait for the organ to be printed!


Do you know that 3D bioprinting could soon help for lung transplantation? Indeed, interstitial lung diseases are numerous… But what if 3D bioprinted lungs could be successfully transplanted?


3D printed lung made with living cells


Proof of concept using 3D printing


Mimicking and replicating human organs is not an easy project. Jordan Miller, assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice’s Brown School of Engineering and his team developed this 3D printed lung. This first functional 3D printed lung is a proof a concept.


If for the moment, this lung is only a proof of concept, the demonstration is still really impressive as we can see that the device is full of air and can contract and expand in order to pump air, just like our lungs are pumping oxygen into the blood.  


Using 3D printing is actually a great way to develop proofs of concept, perfectly able to demonstrate any technical project, like this artificial lung! Indeed, this technology offers the possibility to work with 3D models, to make quick iterations, and work with new materials. All of this appears to be really convenient when developing new scientific projects.


3D printing entire organs: Going through new challenges


3D printing vasculature or blood vessels is actually a big challenge, but it seems that this breathing lung air sac model is the first proof that it is now a possibility. Researchers really worked with his team on the complex structures of organs to develop this lung, and being able to print independent vessel architectures is huge progress.


This 3D printed lung shows us that the future of 3D printing for medical application is quite promising and could help us to go through a lot of new challenges in the upcoming years. It is not every day that a vital organ is replicated using new technology. You can watch the video below to see how this impressive device moves just like a real lung:




The 3D printing process used to create this outstanding proof of concept is Stereolithography apparatus for tissue engineering. Using light for a digital projector, this bioprinting process creating hydrogels layer by layer.


It was not that easy to deal with this light-based polymerization system, but researchers succeeded and created a brand new system, able to recreate the complex internal structure and pulsating movement of a living lung. The team already planned to create even more complex structures in the upcoming years, and we will obviously keep you updated in our next newsletters!


What do you think about this new 3D printed lung experience? Share your view in the comment with us about this artificial lung printed with human cells, that could help cure patients with lung cancer or chronic bronchitis or pulmonary fibrosis. We know it, organ manufacturing will be an incredible revolution for organ donations.


Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the 3D printing industry or 3D printing applications!



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