The 3D bioprinting company, Organovo has emerged to become one of the leading contenders for Methuselah Foundation‘s New Organ Liver Prize by announcing that it will be introducing the world’s first printed human liver later this year. Organovo has managed to overcome a major challenge that was hindering this process until now to be able to make this announcement.
Methuselah Foundation aims to encourage organizations to develop bioengineered organs which will, in future offers a solution to the exponentially increasing need for donor organs by providing an alternative organ source. There are over 110,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in US alone , while at least 15 of them die waiting everyday. The winner of the New Organ Liver Prize, who successfully creates a bioengineered human liver first will get a cash prize of $ 1 Million.
When it comes to bioprinting, the tissue printed will not survive if it does not get oxygen and nutrients, which has to be supplied by the vascular system and creating this vascular system is a major challenge . Organovo has managed to overcome this issue to print liver tissue of over 500 micron thickness which can survive for at least 40 days in a fully functional state . The tissue is a mix of hepatocytes along with fibroblasts and endothelial cells which are responsible for the development of vascular networks. This liver model, slated to be launched later this year will be confined to medical and drug research purpose only.