Printing tissue with enough vascular and scaffold support to replace organs using an in-vivo method is still 15 or more years away, Warren said. In the maintime, Sanofi Pasteur has, he said, successfully created a mock-up of one vascular system.
The company reproduced a lymph node using artificial substrates. Actual lymph nodes are an important part of the body's immune system, filtering out foreign particles and even cancer cells.
Being able to reproduce a lymph node artificially means the company has conquered the ability to map out the system; now it needs to apply living cells to that, Warren said.
Bioprinting systems of the future should be focused on combining many processes in a similar way to how some computer systems combine many technologies into one.
"I think with bioprinting in 20-plus years, we'll see the same thing where we have all these tools and all these instruments and minimally invasive surgery with a simple bioprinting tool," Warren said. "It's really about taking multiple things and integrating them all into one."
Sign up for MIS Asia eNewsletters.