This year, for example, is likely to see a 3D-printed liver from Organovo. Thecompany bioprints living human tissue that is three-dimensional, architecturally correct, and composed of living human cells. Bioprinted organs could save the lives of those whose days do not stretch as far as their place on the organ-donation list, though to go from a lab to a patient's hospital room in the U.S., these technologieshave to first get FDA approval. While it's a process that is designed to ensure patient safety, it's also mired in bureaucracy. On average, approval for technologies is two years faster in Europe than it is in the United States, according to a study by Stanford researchers.
Still, researchers march on. Here are some of the latest med-tech concepts and products under development that might soon find their way to your doctor's office.