SAN DIEGO, Nov. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Organovo Holdings, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ONVO) ("Organovo"), a three-dimensional biology company focused on delivering breakthrough 3D bioprinting technology, today announced the full commercial release of the exVive3DTM Human Liver Tissue for preclinical drug discovery testing. Initially, clients will be able to access the technology through Organovo's contract research services program. This model is intended to provide human-specific data to aid in the prediction of liver tissue toxicity or ADME outcomes (note: absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion - SiG) in later stage preclinical drug discovery programs.This is an interesting landmark in the advancement of tissue engineering. The product itself is a 3D structure of liver tissue, intended for drug testing and other testing uses outside the body, such as for chemical toxicity. Historically, testing like this is referred to as "in vitro", or in glass testing, named for the glass labware tissue cultures were grown in; contrasted with "in vivo", or in a living organism. Rather than test in a way that can harm someone (which is unethical), or extrapolate from a monocellular layer in a Petri dish, this is a liver that is going to give more direct answers with no ethical issues.
“The liver tissue is constructed from three human liver cell types; hepatocytes, hepatic stellate, and endothelial cells in an organized structure with the cell density and tight junctions of that found in native tissue. Our tissue is designed to replicate the composition and architecture of human liver tissue using these major cell types.”
|The image above shows bioprinted human liver with CD31+ microvessels (green) forming within the tissue.|
Liver Foundation says that over 1500 people die every year while waiting for a transplant; around 200,000 heart bypass surgeries are done every year, a market for commercially produced blood vessels; and approximately 100,000 breast reconstructions are done every year after removal due to cancer. All of these are candidates for a 3D printed replacement. I couldn't begin to guess how far out in the future that application might be.