New Device Prints Human Tissue
Organovo will supply 3D bio-printers to research institutions investigating human tissue repair and organ replacement.
Credit: Organovo

Invetech has delivered what it calls the "world`s first production model 3D bio-printer" to Organovo, developers of the proprietary NovoGen bioprinting technology. Organovo will in turn supply the devices to institutions investigating human tissue repair and organ replacement.

Keith Murphy, CEO of Organovo, based in San Diego, said the units represent a breakthrough because they provide for the first time a flexible technology platform for organizations working on many different types of tissue construction and organ replacement.

“Scientists and engineers can use the 3D bio printers to enable placing cells of almost any type into a desired pattern in 3D,” Murphy said. “Researchers can place liver cells on a preformed scaffold, support kidney cells with a co-printed scaffold, or form adjacent layers of epithelial and stromal soft tissue that grow into a mature tooth. Ultimately the idea would be for surgeons to have tissue on demand for various uses, and the best way to do that is get a number of bio-printers into the hands of researchers and give them the ability to make three dimensional tissues on demand.”

The 3D bio-printers include an intuitive software interface that allows engineers to build a model of the tissue construct before the printer commences the physical constructions of the organs cell-by-cell using automated, laser-calibrated print heads.

“Building human organs cell-by-cell was considered science fiction not that long ago," said Fred Davis, president of Invetech, which has offices in San Diego and Melbourne. "Through this clever combination of technology and science we have helped Organovo develop an instrument that will improve people’s lives, making the regenerative medicine that Organovo provides accessible to people around the world.”

Science fiction, indeed. Artificial organs have been a science fiction staple since writer Philip K. Dick wrote about artiforgs (artificial organs) in his 1964 novel Cantata 140 and Larry Niven's artificially grown organs in his 1968 novel A Gift From Earth.

This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission of Technovelgy.com.