3D printing organs: it’s what the world is waiting for. A research company from San Diego called Organovo has announced it has created slices of functioning, long-lasting human liver using a 3D printer. In addition, it can survive for up to 40 days.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean 3D printing organs and transplanting them into human bodies will be the next step any time soon. The big problem is still that organs such as the heart, liver and kidney need a network of blood vessels to work properly while 3D printing techniques are still unable to print out blood vessels and integrate them with the human body.
What this discovery can do is help patients who don’t need a full organ transplant. Therefore, the 3D Human Liver will be launched as a product in 2014. This discovery will lead to faster drug development as well as it will offer significant value to pharmaceutical researchers by enabling assessment of both biochemical and tissue responses, thinks the company.
“The stable, liver-specific functionality of 3D Liver is consistent with our observations that other NovoGen bioprinted tissues become fully cellular, steady state, living tissues that persist over time,” says Keith Murphy, Organovo’s chief executive officer in LiveScience. “Furthermore, the fact that these tissues demonstrate similar activity to native liver when presented with a known challenge drug is an encouraging indication of utility in drug development.”
Image/ video: Organovoinc.