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Medicine Technology

First 3D Printed Liver Expected In 2014 67 67

Lucas123 writes "After 3D printing has produced ears, skin grafts and even retina cells that could be built up and eventually used to replace defective eye tissue, researchers expect to be able to produce the first functioning organ next year. The organ, a liver, would not be for the purpose of human implant — that will take years to complete clinical trials and pass FDA review. Instead, the liver would initially be for development and testing of pharmaceuticals. The field of 3D printing known as organs on a chip, will greatly increase the accuracy and speed of drug development and testing, researchers say. The company producing the liver, Organovo, has overcome a major stumbling block that faces the creation of any organ: printing the vascular system needed to provide it with life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients. Typically, 3D printed tissue dies in the petri dish before it can even be used because of that. '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."
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First 3D Printed Liver Expected In 2014

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  • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Friday December 27, 2013 @05:13AM (#45794503)

    Because Preview.

  • Re:Fantastic! (Score:4, Informative)

    by MrLizard (95131) on Friday December 27, 2013 @11:17AM (#45796195)

    It's possible each layer printed can seamlessly connect to the next layer, given appropriate nutrients/conditions. I believe (bio class was a long time ago; I think it was when they were still teaching about the humours) that cells can communicate chemically and tell other cells, "hey, join up here". If all the correct cell types are in the mix, each layer should link up to form the necessary structures, especially if the focus is replacing damaged portions of an organ and not building the whole thing as one big lump.

    It's too soon to say "Cirrhosis, shmirrohsis, I'll just buy a new liver at Wal-Mart[1]", but this step forward seems far from impractical.

    [1]More socially-conscious types may prefer to shop at neighborhood businesses that produce locally-sourced organs printed using fair labor practices. But you'll pay more, and they're not open at 2 AM when you really NEED a new liver.

  • Re:What about skin? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lairdykinsmcgee (2500904) on Friday December 27, 2013 @11:54AM (#45796541)
    Great video. Not exactly what you're speaking about, but quite similar in effect. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXO_ApjKPaI [youtube.com]

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