Organovo, a bio-printing company based in San Diego, has claimed that it has overcome the vascular issue to a degree and now expects to unveil the world's first printed organ - a human liver - by the end of 2014.
The major stumbling block in creating tissue has remained with manufacturing of the vascular system that is needed to provide it with life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients. Organovo's researchers were able to overcome the problem by bringing together fibroblasts and endothelial cells, which perform the function of developing tiny vascular networks, allowing the company to achieve thick tissue with good cell viability.
In November the company has succeeded in bioprinting liver tissue that lasted 40 days in a dish. "We have achieved thicknesses of greater than 500 microns, and have maintained liver tissue in a fully functional state with native phenotypic behavior for at least 40 days," said Mike Renard, Organovo's executive vice president of commercial operations.
Liver tissue printed in a petri dish. (Image: Organovo)
However the liver would not be suitable to be used as human implant, that will take years to complete clinical trials and pass a review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a process that can take three to 10 years. Instead, the liver would initially be used in the laboratory for medical studies and drug research.
Currently developing and testing a new drug is costing $1.3 billion and takes 12 years, according to research from Deloitte and Thomson Reuters. The creation of a viable liver proves 3D printed tissue can be kept alive long enough to test the effects of drugs on it or implant it in a human body where it can further develop. It means it could make the process of developing new drugs much faster and cheaper.
Organovo has as yet not released any information on possible future implantable organs. "It is too early to speculate on the breadth of applications that tissue engineering will ultimately deliver or on the efficacy that will be achieved," Renard said.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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alvaro wrote at 12/31/2013 10:22:26 PM:
That's amazing ! Livers,kidneys,eyes ,hearts ,teeth,......That's a revolution!