There was a recent news article heralding that 2014 could be the year of the 3D printed liver! It doesn’t directly help my transplant situation, but I’m really excited. The liver would be used to test drugs, in petri-dish sized experiments. It’s just one small step of advancement towards printing entire functioning organs. The Methuselah Foundation announced a $1 million prize for the first organization to print a fully functioning liver. That’s some motivation.
How long until doctors start testing solid organs in people? Ott hopes to see human studies on some lab-grown organ in five to 10 years. Wagner calls that very optimistic and thinks 15 to 20 years is more realistic. Niklason also forecasts two decades for the first human study of a lung that will work long-term. But LaMattina figures five to 10 years might be about right for human studies of his specialty, the liver. “I’m an optimist,” he adds. “You have to be an optimist in this job.” (from another article here)
It also helps to be an optimist while on the transplant list.