While MC10 is reimagining the world of electronics, wowing audiences everywhere and drawing investment from consumer health and medtech companies alike, Organovo is attempting a minor miracle using human material.
The San Diego company takes human cells and uses its 3-D bioprinter to place cells in a particular environment such that the natural order of life takes over and the cells begin to interact with one another, creating functional human tissue.
The pharma world, always at a handicap in trying to understand how the human body will react to certain drugs, can now take these bioprinted human cells to run clinical trials much earlier in the drug development process. 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.
But Organovo is not stopping at simply aiding drugmakers. It aims to create functional human tissue that can be implanted or delivered into the human body to repair or replace damaged or diseased tissue, for which the company will seed FDA approval as a medical device.
Here is a video that explains its 3-D bioprinted process: