Botech innovator Organovo recently announced that their NovoGen MMX Bioprinter can print living tissue. So far, researchers with the company have been able to print heart tissue, arteries, and liver tissue. The 3-D printed tissues are still in the pre-clinical trial phase, but CEO Keith Murphy believes that with a few more longer-term studies on the tissues, they will be ready for clinical applications.
The company has secured three patents on their process. Although other companies have been working on printing human tissue, Organovo is the first to have a fully cellular product that will function almost identically to tissue already in the body. These patents are designed to protect their process from any future attempts at duplication. Organovo believes they have developed something truly cutting edge, and they do not see anyone else being able to do it as well as they have.
This could be the next big thing in transplant research. If all goes as Organovo believes it will, they will eventually be able to print whole organs, thus making transplant lists a thing of the past. This bioprinting process will also allow patients to use cells from their own body to create the tissues, thus eliminating the need for immunosuppressant drugs once the tissue is transplanted. The body should not be at any risk for rejection if the transplanted tissue is already made from living cells from the patient.
This is an exciting medical development, and it will be excellent technology to keep an eye on. Look out for great things from Organovo in the future!