By Julie S | Dec 28, 2013 01:41 PM EST
2014 may be the year when the first 3D-printed liver will be available to patients awaiting transplants. (Photo : Reuters)
2014 may be the year when the first 3D-printed liver will be available to patients awaiting transplants.
The bio-printed artificial liver may help a lot of people suffering from liver-related diseases and reduce the mortality rate of those who died while waiting for a liver transplant. The developer of this technology also plans to expand it to other organs.
Although printing organs is very difficult, Organov , a San Diego-based company was able to accomplish it by using living tissues as thick as almost five sheets of paper. The first 3d printed liver is expected to be released on 2014, according to the Washington Times.
“We have achieved thicknesses of greater than 500 microns, and have maintained liver tissue in a fully functional state with native phenotypic behavior for at least 40 days,” said executive vice president of commercial operations of Organov, Mike Renard on a report published on Computer World.
Organov detailed in a blog post that presents the bioprinted liver tissue model. It said: “Organovo’s NovoGen Bioprinting™ platform was utilized to generate bioprinted liver tissue prototypes that contain both parenchymal and non-parenchymal cells in spatially controlled, user-defined geometries that reproduce compositional and architectural features of native tissue.”
The researchers also discussed the advantages of using this 3D printed liver technology. One is the production and qualified testing of different designs. In the future, a liver will be designed according to the profile of the recipient.
It added: “The overall goal of studies like these is to develop living, multi-cellular human tissues that can be maintained in the laboratory environment for extended periods of time and sampled serially for both functional and histological changes in response to injury, pathogens, or treatments.”
The success of this 3D printed liver will definitely be a blessing for those awaiting transplants.
A liver transplant is a medical procedure of replacing the liver of a patient with another person’s liver. While it is already difficult to look for a donor, the evaluation of whether the donated liver is appropriate to the recipient is also tedious. Doctors need to check the blood type, body size, and medical condition of the recipient before adding him in the waiting list while the donor needs to be evaluated as well for evidence of liver disease, alcohol or drug abuse, cancer, or infection.