While many have claimed–perhaps a bit too ambitiously–that 3D printing will change the world, Organovo is an undeniable example of a company poised to change the world in their niche area. What they are doing with the bioprinting of organ cells is so big it has the potential to affect nearly everyone in the future in one way or another, directly or indirectly. And while many in the mainstream population may not yet know their name, that’s just a matter of time, considering the substantial and enormously positive changes that the San Diego-based company is offering to the world of medicine and drug research.
Organovo has certainly caught the attention of the powers that be at Popular Science magazine recently, however, and have been recognized for their latest in bioprinting. Earning them a spot on the list of the 100 Greatest Innovations of the Year, Organovo’s breakthroughs with bioprinted kidney tissue, specifically, have won them the 2015 ‘Best of What’s New’ Award.
“The Best of What’s New awards honor the innovations that surprise and amaze us—those that challenge our view of what’s possible in the future,” said Cliff Ransom, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Science, the world’s largest science and technology publication.“The award is Popular Science’s top prize, and the 100 winners—chosen from among thousands of nominees—are each a revolution in their respective fields.”
Creating functional human tissue with their bioprinting technology, Organovo has been in the headlines a great deal over the past year, beginning with and mainly regarding their exVive 3D Human Liver Tissue. This was their first bioprinted product and it is being used for drug toxicity testing.
The kidney tissue, to be released next year for commercial use, is the latest just coming out of research and development from Organovo and being announced to the world as a viable, future commercial source for disease modeling, nephrotoxicity screening, and examination of compounds in those with kidney disease.
“Organovo is proud to be named a top health innovator for this year by Popular Science, a leading science and technology magazine,” said Keith Murphy, chairman and chief executive officer of Organovo. “The past year has been important for us as we successfully launched our exVive 3D Human Liver Tissue and continue to grow the market for bioprinted tissues in drug research and development. We’re excited to advance our next portfolio offering of 3D human kidney tissue.”
In receiving this accolade from Popular Science, Organovo joins 99 others in the categories of automotive, aviation, computing, engineering, gadgets, green, entertainment, security, software, home, health and recreation. Winners will all be included in the December issue of Popular Science, which is a month highly anticipated by readers each year.
We’ve spent considerable time following this company. While many longstanding companies as well as new startups are offering substantial innovation and groundbreaking concepts to the medical community with 3D printing, few can hold a candle to what Organovo has achieved–and in such an impressively short time.
With their bioprinting practices they are able to create living tissue that can be printed into trays with numerous ink wells. The cells have an incredibly natural form and are viable for study as researchers can imbue them with a disease, watch it progress, and then begin to apply different drug treatments to the cells, noting their reactions. This of course is eliminating much of the experimentation that occurs on animals as well as taking away much of the time spent seeing which drug or another works on a patient with what side effects. In the end it should offer a much safer, more pleasant, and streamlined approach to treating patients, whether it is due to liver complications, kidney, and soon, beyond.
The ultimate goal is to work in transplant medicine, and Organovo has partnered up with researchers at Yale School of Medicine to study ways to further this through the examining of vascular networks and how to apply them to bioprinting organs and using them successfully in transplants eventually. Other collaborations that have been more in the spotlight previous to this are their partnership with Merck–designed to develop further custom models in regards to the exVive liver tissue–as well as with L’Oréal to develop 3D printed skin tissue for product evaluation and other areas of advanced research.
What are your thoughts on Organovo winning this award? Let us know in the Best of What’s New Forum thread on 3DPB.com.