The science fiction reality
Organovo generate 3D printed liver which can survive for 40 days
A San Diego start-up company called Organovo has managed to use 3D printing to generate a liver that lasts for 40 days.
The company is lighting the way for 3D printed organs and edible meat of the future after developing a slice of functioning liver by printing layers of liver cells.
As the liver is an organ that naturally regenerates itself, it makes it perfect for this project and Organovo's lastest printed liver was fully functioning for 40 days, which was a 700 per cent increase on the company's previous effort last April that lasted five days.
The 3D printed liver filters out toxins and drugs to keep in nutrients, but the company has yet to master the ability to integrate blood vessels using 3D printing, hence why this example dies after 40 days as these are what keeps a normal liver alive and healthy.
Organovo's 3D printed liver can be made using a patients own stem cells, meaning it wouldn't get rejected upon implant.
The company is hoping to deliver slices of liver in the 3D Human Liver Project next year, which aims to offer a means of testing drugs on human tissue without risking harming humans.