Correction: Organovo printed human liver TISSUE - but that's a major step along the way to printing an entire functioning liver. Organovo has been developing 3D bioprinting technology for some time now, focusing on producing functional tissue for experimentation. Keith Murphy, Chairman and CEO of Organovo said:
We have achieved excellent function in a fully cellular 3D human liver tissue. With Organovo's 3D bioprinted liver tissues, we have demonstrated the power of bioprinting to create functional human tissue that replicates human biology better than what has come before. Not only can these tissues be a first step towards larger 3D liver, laboratory tests with these samples have the potential to be game changing for medical research. We believe these models will prove superior in their ability to provide predictive data for drug discovery and development, better than animal models or current cell models.
The new result is startling: they managed to produce tissue composed of "multiple cell types" with 3D features as small as 0.5mm. The tissue is approximately 20 cell layers thick and require no scaffolding, something commonly used in other approaches. Apparently they "actually look and feel like living tissues".
Not only was structure successful, but function too. These cellular bioprints were able to deliver "critical liver functions", such as:
albumin production, fibrinogen and transferrin production, and inducible cytochrome P450 enzymatic activities, including CYP 1A2 and CYP 3A4.
And you know what that means.
Via Organovo (Hat tip to James)