A miniature liver created by Organovo using 3D printing broke the company's own record by performing the functions of a human liver for 40 days. It may seem that this is not so much, because human liver cells are regenerated after 300-500 days. However, the result is impressive, because the previous millimeter-sized sample lasted only five days.
To create an artificial liver, the San Diego scientists used the same combination of hepatocytes (cells that function as the liver) and endothelial cells (forming the structure of the liver) that are found in nature. This allowed the experiment to obtain a more natural model of an artificial organ than using only multifunctional cells.
The dream of one day getting fully functioning artificial organs printed on a 3D printer is getting closer to reality. This small but important step will bring more than 120, 000 people around the world who need organ transplants closer to recovery.
In the next step, the Organovo company plans to create an organ close to its real size in order to subsequently transplant it to living people. But for this there are still quite a few problems to be solved. For example, how to print a network of blood vessels that will be able to feed the entire organ.