The official blog of the Lung Institute.

What 3-D Printing Could Mean for Lung Disease Sufferers

10 Apr 2015
| Under Lung Transplant, Treatments | Posted by | 6 Comments
3-D Printnig could mean for Lung Disease Suffers Lung Institute

National Donate Life Month

Each April, the United States celebrates National Donate Life Month (NDLM). For one month, we think of the thousands of individuals patiently waiting for an organ that will change their life forever. Right now, there are nearly 124,000 people in the United States currently waiting for an organ transplant. But the organ donation stats are even more startling than that.

  • More than 1,000 of the individuals waiting for an organ are under 10 years of age.
  • On average, 150 people are added to the nation’s organ transplant waiting list each day; that’s one every 10 minutes.
  • Sadly, on average, 21 people die each day because the organs they need are not donated in time.

Seeing the sad reality that hundreds of people die each year due to a lack of an organ donor, researchers are looking for an alternative. Enter 3-D printing.

The new process of 3-D printing everything from toys to collectibles to nuts and bolts has taken a life-changing turn. Now, scientists are finding a far more complex and exciting possibility: 3-D printing human organs.

For years, medical researchers have been reproducing human cells to create blood vessels, skin tissue and other living body parts. Some revolutionary physicians at the Lung Institute are even using autologous stem cells to promote healing for sufferers of a variety of pulmonary conditions. Using the precise ability for 3-D printers to reproduce vascular systems is simply the next step on the journey to a healthier world.

Currently, the technology for printing whole human organs for surgical transplants is still years away. But there’s hope that 3-D printers could someday produce much-needed organs for transplants.

An Introduction to Bioprinting

An article from CNN, The next frontier in 3-D printing: Human organs, explains the basics of the emerging technologies:

“Bioprinting works like this: Scientists harvest human cells from biopsies or stem cells, then allow them to multiply in a petri dish. The resulting mixture, a sort of biological ink, is fed into a 3-D printer, which is programmed to arrange different cell types, along with other materials, into a precise three-dimensional shape. Doctors hope that when placed in the body, these 3-D-printed cells will integrate with existing tissues.”

So far, there have been several successes including a two-year old girl, born without a trachea, who received a windpipe built with her own stem cells. At the heart of emerging medical technologies reside stem cells.

For sufferers of a chronic lung disease, the many possibilities of stem cell therapy are quite evident. Stem cell therapy provides another option for sufferers to breathe easier. It harnesses the innate healing power of a patient’s own stem cells in order to help slow down the progression of the disease.

Today, lung disease can be treated with adult stem cells harvested from the patient’s own blood or bone marrow to replace damaged lung cells with healthy ones. This innovative procedure may slow the progression of the disease, but it also may improve lung function and may reduce inflammation.

For more information on how stem cell therapy could help you, contact the Lung Institute at (800) 729-3065.


  1. PB

    1 year ago

    Dear Martin,

    Thanks for your comment. Congratulations on your achievements in medical device competitions. You could try talking with your university about 3D printing organs and who your university recommends you contact. You could also try doing a Google search to see what shows up. We wish you the best in your endeavors.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  2. Martin Bammes

    1 year ago

    I am researcher. I already won a few medical device competitions at my university for what I call, “Low hanging medical conditions.” However, 3D printing organs is where I want to be. I’ve been in the 3D printing, and 3D design/imagery industry for years now. Now, several colleagues and I would like to make the push into doing something great.
    Where do we need to go? Who needs help? Who do we talk to?

  3. PB

    2 years ago

    Dear Patty,

    Because the cost of treatment varies depending on treatment type, it’s best to speak with one of our qualified patient coordinators for more information. Please feel free to contact us today by calling (855) 313-1149. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  4. Patty DeVore

    2 years ago

    Good article.
    What is the cost to get the stem cell therapy?

  5. Cara Tompot

    3 years ago

    Hi Rose,

    Your age will not disqualify you from stem cell therapy at the Lung Institute. One of our patient coordinators can chat with you about your condition and medical history to determine whether you qualify for stem cell therapy on that front. They can be reached at (888) 510-7519.

  6. Rose Vermillion

    3 years ago

    I have COPD and its a living hell. I was told I would not qualify for any treatment because of my age. I am 72.

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

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As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and stem cell procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.