February 5, 2013

3D printing breakthrough with human embryonic stem cells, hail artificial liver breakthrough

2880940021.jpeg A team of researchers in Scotland are creating the world’s first artificial liver tissue made from human cells, a technology they say has the potential to both speed up and slash the cost of testing and producing new drugs. new.scotsman reporst.

quotemarksright.jpgA team at Heriot-Watt University is using the cells to build liver tissue which will become a testing platform for drugs to treat a range of illnesses. It is hoped that the development of artificial livers will reduce and ultimately replace the need to test medicines on animals.

Will Shu, a lecturer in micro-engineering who is leading the research, said: “The medical benefits could be enormous. Artificial human liver tissues could be very valuable to drug development because they mimic more closely the response of drugs on humans, helping to select safer and more efficient drug candidates.”

With the human cells, the Scottish scientists are working to create miniature human ­liver tissues and have already developed a process known 
as “livers-on-a-chip” which “prints” the cells in 3D onto testing surfaces.

... Despite major scientific advances, artificial livers do not yet exist because of the complex nature of their creation. The scientists at Heriot-Watt are leading the way, but believe it could take between two and three years before a viable organ is produced.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Picture: Colin Hattersley

Research paper published 5 February in the journal Biofabrication:Development of a valve-based cell printer for the formation of human embryonic stem cell spheroid aggregates

Related articles:

-- 3D printing breakthrough with human embryonic stem cells (Phys.org)

-- We Can Almost Print New Organs Using 3D Stem Cells (TIME)