Organovo has people in the regenerative medicine and pharmaceutical worlds really excited. The San Diego company takes human cells and uses its 3-D bioprinter to place them in a particular environment such that the natural order of life takes over. The cells begin to interact with one another, and the end result is functional human tissue.
Instead of relying on 2-D cell cultures or animal studies, drug companies can now use these bioprinted human cells to run clinical trials much earlier in the drug development process and see how the human body will react.
In 2013, Organovo published data on a 3-D bioprinted liver model and found that the liver tissue lasts much longer than 2-D cell cultures. But perhaps more worthy of celebration is the fact that the tissue began to function like normal liver tissue. It began producing liver-specific proteins, such as albumin and transferrin, as well as performed the biosynthesis of cholesterol. As of late April, the company was signing research service contracts with pharma companies that want to use the 3-D human liver tissue technology in their preclinical drug-discovery programs.
But Organovo wants to do more than just help drugmakers. The company aims to create functional human tissue that can be implanted or delivered into the human body to repair or replace damaged or diseased tissue, which will require it to seek FDA approval as a medical device.
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|Meet more agents of change in medtech at the MD&M East tradeshow and conference in New York City June 9–12, 2014.|
[image courtesy of ORGANOVO/FREEDIGITALPHOTOS.NET]