Medical & Dental

Organovo Begins Testing Medication on 3D Printed Liver Cells

Exciting news from Organovo! The 3D bioprinting company, known for its proprietary NovoGen™ printer and the creation of the first fully cellular 3D-printed liver tissue, has just released information regarding the responsiveness of their liver cells to drug testing.

After releasing information in April regarding the functionality and viability of their 3D printed liver cells, now the firm can demonstrate that the cells can retain key liver functions for up to 40 days, and have gone on to test the effects of acetaminophen on printed liver cells. Acetaminophen, which also goes by Paracetamol or the trade-name Tylenol, is a liver toxicant that can lead to liver failure in the case of overdose. On October 22nd, at the 3rd Annual Cell Therapy Bioprocessing Conference in Bethesda, MD, Organovo presented the results of applying acetaminophen to their 3D Liver. By exposing the toxicant to their 3D printed liver tissue, Organovo was able to witness dose-dependent responses and test the toxic effects of the drug on their cells using “standard screening assays and histopathological assessment”.

This is a first step in using their bioprinting process for use in drug experimentation, which could eventually lead to getting medicine to market more quickly by effectively simulating a natural human response to medications, without relying on animal testing. Organovo CEO, Keith Murphy, had this to say about the company’s progress:

This additional functional validation of Organovo’s 3D Liver continues the demonstration of strong performance of these tissues. In April we were able to show that liver function was retained in our 3D Liver for over five days, and we have now demonstrated that our tissues perform consistently for at least 40 days, a significant improvement over the average 48 hour performance of 2D cultures.  The stable, liver-specific functionality of 3D Liver is consistent with our observations that other NovoGen bioprinted tissues become fully cellular, steady state, living tissues that persist over time.  Furthermore, the fact that these tissues demonstrate similar activity to native liver when presented with a known challenge drug is an encouraging indication of utility in drug development.

These results come sooner than the company anticipated. Originally predicted to obtain results in regards to liver toxicity by the end of the year, this puts the company on track to release a 3D Human Liver product in 2014.

For an overview of the company’s bioprinting process, watch their video below: