A large number of people die every day waiting for a liver transplant. But thanks to the 3D printing, things may change sooner than expected. San Diego-based biotech firm Organovo plans to use its bio-printing technology to create the world’s first 3D printed liver by the end of 2014.
Like any other form of 3D printing, Organovo’s organic 3D printer lays down layers of live cells to form a human tissue. But the major issue in creating human tissue is that the living cells literally die before the tissue gets off the printer table. Now, Organovo’s researchers have been able to overcome this obstacle by expanding the life span of its bio-printed liver tissue from five days to 40 days in a fully-functional state.
Although this liver won’t be suitable for transplants in human beings, it could be very helpful in scientific research in laboratories for medical studies and drug testing. This could be a more humane alternative to cruel animal testing. Organovo hopes its 3D printing technology will also help reduce the exorbitant costs of drug testing.