In a video report on CBC, Organovo CEO Keith Murphy describes his company’s latest achievement: 3D bioprinting portions of a human liver. Even more amazing is that the liver cells actually exhibit partial function.
“Today we can print tiny parts of these organs… About half a millimeter to a millimeter thick”.
There are limitations, specifically that Organovo cannot yet print blood vessels, which are obviously essential to provide oxygen and nutrients to the liver cells. By printing thin sheets of liver material, sustaining oxygen and nutrients can simply seep through.
These liver sheets are suitable for experimentation, but not yet for transplant. Murphy believes the human liver will be the first candidate for 3D printed replacements because unlike other organs, the liver can actually regenerate on its own. Organovo would need only 3D print a sufficiently large portion of a liver for transplant – and regeneration fills in the rest.
Via CBC (Hat tip to James)