The improved 3D-printed liver model can benefit drug development, drug screening and disease modelling.
A team of engineers at the University of California have created a 3D-printed tissue that imitates the human liver, including its structure and function, offering benefits for researchers and pharmaceutical companies. The model was created using advanced bioprinting technology which can produce 3D structures that resemble body tissues and organs. The engineers created the model using liver cells from human-derived stem cells. Previous models were not able to represent the architecture and diverse cell composition of a real liver, making this an innovative tool.
The production of pharmaceutical drugs is a slow and costly process, which includes rigorous animal testing and human clinical trials. This 3D-printed liver model can be used for testing potential drug therapies in early clinical trials. The liver plays an important role in drug metabolism and as a result this new model can help pharmaceutical companies save time and money.
This innovative 3D-printed liver tissue could be very useful in reproducing disease models, such as hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer, equipping researchers with useful tools.
Xuanyi Ma, Xin Qu, Wei Zhu, Yi-Shuan Li, Suli Yuan, Hong Zhang, Justin Liu, Pengrui Wang, Cheuk Sun Edwin Lai, Fabian Zanella, Gen-Sheng Feng, Farah Sheikh, Shu Chien, and Shaochen Chen. A Deterministically Patterned Biomimetic Human iPSC-derived Hepatic Model via Rapid 3D Bioprinting. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 2016. 10.1073/pnas.1524510113
Labios Liezel. Engineers 3-D-print a new lifelike liver tissue for drug screening. EurekAlert!, February 2016. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/uoc–e3a020816.php
Written by Mariana Nikolova, BSc