3D printed liver cells of UCSD

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Home to the original bioprinting firm, Organovo, San Diego is, apparently, a hotbed of bioprinting activity. Or, at the quite very least, the University of California, San Diego is manufacture its own strides in the field of bioprinted liver tissue. Published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, UCSD engineers have detailed the 3D printing of a tissue which mimics the liver in terms of structure and function, paving the way for drug testing and medical research.

For its role in metabolizing drugs and making significant proteins, the liver is one of the initially organs to be pursued in the field of bioprinting. Organovo has may already begun selling liver tissue for drug testing, but yet has a long way to go in terms of making additional complicated liver structures. The UCSD team, yet, has created a combination of various liver cells and supporting cells which have been 3D printed into a hexagonal structure. Unlike previous attempts, this structure has access to blood donate, is created up of three various tissue types, and can be generated in just seconds. And, many significantly, the outcome functions just how real liver cells may.

3D printed liver cells

“We’ve engineered a functioning liver tissue which matches what you’d see under a microscope,” explains the study’s co-author Shu Chien, a professor of Medicine and Bioengineering, director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine at UC San Diego and recipient of a National Medal of Science. “The liver is one-of-a-kind in which it receives a dual blood donate with various pressures and chemical constituents. Our version has the future of remaking this intricate blood donate process, thus providing unprecedented belief of the complicated coupling between circulation and metabolic functions of the liver in health and disease.”

The key to the team’s good results is a one-of-a-kind bioprinting method created by Chen’s lab (covered by 3DPI in 2012). Whilst other bioprinting technologies may take hours to print cells, the lab’s innovation can print a 3 × 3 millimeter square, 200 micrometers thick in mere seconds. To do so, the team uses a two-step printing approach, initially making 900-micrometer-sized hexagons of liver cells derived of human induced pluripotent stem cells. So, endothelial and mesenchymal supporting cells were printed between these hexagons. As with other processes, the end structure is placed into an in vitro culture bath, in this case, for twenty days.

Upon culturing the structure, the team examined it for its competence to replicate liver functions, like albumin secretion and urea production. Not just may the printed object perform these functions, but they may do so for a longer period of time than other liver versions. On top of which, it can actually create an enzyme essential to metabolizing drugs. Chien says, “The liver tissue created by this novel 3D printing innovation can in addition be incredibly useful in remaking in vitro disease versions such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and cancer. Such realistic versions can be invaluable for the study of the pathophysiology and metabolic abnormalities in these diseases and the efficacy of drug therapies.”

Fellow co-author and NanoEngineering professor at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, Shaochen Chen, explains which this innovation is significant for progress in the field of pharmaceutical research. “It typically takes of 12 years and $1.8 billion to create one FDA-approved drug,” Chen points out. “That’s for the reason over 90 percent of drugs don’t pass animal tests or human clinical trials. We’ve created a tool which pharmaceutical companies may use to do pilot studies on their new drugs, and they won’t have to wait until animal or human trials to test a drug’s safety and efficacy on patients. This may let them focus on the many promising drug candidates earlier on in the process.”

The team has may already filed provisional patents related to the liver tissue version. In the near term, the innovation may be utilized to create cells worth of medical testing, by-passing the aforementioned animal testing and long wait times. Because the tissues use human stem cells, yet, it’s possible which patient-specific solutions may be created, which include 3D printed organs. Chen concludes, “I ponder which this can assist as a excellent drug screening tool for pharmaceutical companies and which our 3D bioprinting innovation opens the door for patient-specific organ printing in the future.”

Michael Molitch-Hou

About The Author

Michael is Editor-In Chief of 3D Printing Industry and the founder of The Reality™ Institute, a service institute dedicated to determining what’s real and what’s not so which you don’t have to. He is a graduate of the MFA Critical Studies & Writing Program at CalArts, and a firm advocate of world peace. Michael already resides in San Pedro with his magical wife, Danielle.