Bioprinted Organs Ready for Drug Testing
When testing a new drug, animal trials require little government approval, but leave important questions unanswered, and human trials produce good data, but require working through massive amounts of regulatory red tape. Two pharma companies hope they can get the best of both worlds with none of the drawbacks by testing their drugs on human organs printed from scratch out of stem cells.
According to Xconomy, Organovo, the darling of TED talks and Wired magazine stories, has teamed up with two pharmaceutical companies to create kidneys and other organs for testing. This move will help float Organovo until the start up begins profiting from its goal of generating whole organs for transplant.
Organovo creates living tissue by printing single-cell thick layers one on top of another until they have assembled an entire organ. A biocompatible gel forms the scaffolding needed to build the architecture found in more complex organs like kidneys or lungs.
So far, they have succeeded in creating both beating heart cells and working blood vessels using their patented bioprinting method. The partnership between Organovo and its allied drug companies will mark the first practical application of the bioprinting concept.