A California company called Organovo is about to start shipping prototypes of a device that can print out human organs to several research facilities. Called a 3D bio-printer, the device uses tissue engineering techniques to build organs out of layers of cells. According to The Economist:
Keith Murphy, Organovo's chief executive . . . says that the company expects that within five years, once clinical trials are complete, the printers will produce blood vessels for use as grafts in bypass surgery. With more research it should be possible to produce bigger, more complex body parts. Because the machines have the ability to make branched tubes, the technology could, for example, be used to create the networks of blood vessels needed to sustain larger printed organs, like kidneys, livers and hearts.
No need to worry about getting donor organs any more - with one of these $200,000 machines, your doctor can take a sample of your tissues and build a new heart that your immune system won't reject.
via The Economist