Imagine receiving a vital organ ... generated by a 3-D printer.

It could happen someday, according to Joe Roth, who heads the New Jersey Sharing Network, a nonprofit working to facilitate organ transplants.

Roth says the Sharing Network's new Personalized Transplant Medicine Institute may someday make 3-D organ printing a reality.

"The PTMI will look at seminal research to help improve the matching of organs to recipients, which in turn will enhance their longevity. And we'll also look at ways to change the immune systems so that the organ is tolerated for a much longer time by the patient, by the recipient."

He says it's part of the institute's research into regenerative medicine, in which research is being done to be able to grow and replace organs using cells that do not react negatively with the body.

Roth says the availability of organs has grown, but it has not grown fast enough to match the need.

"There are over 4,000 people waiting in New Jersey for a life-saving transplant, and 120,000 people nationwide."

He urges New Jerseyans to sign up for organ donation at the MVC or at, njsharingnetwork.org.

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Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5