A 3D-printed tissue that closely mimics the human liver's sophisticated structure and function has been developed by researchers at University of California-San Diego. The new model can be used for patient-specific drug screening and disease modeling, thus helping pharmaceutical companies save time and money when developing new drugs. It typically takes about 12 years and $1.8 billion to produce one FDA-approved drug because over 90% of drugs don't pass animal tests or human clinical trials. "We have made a tool that pharmaceutical companies could use to do pilot studies on their new drugs, and they won't have to wait until animal or human trials to test a drug's safety and efficacy on patients," said Shaochen Chen, nanoengineering professor at the UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering. ‘A 3D-printed tissue that closely mimics the human liver's sophisticated structure and function has been developed by researchers. Pharmaceutical companies could use it to do pilot studies on their new drugs.’ The team engineered a human liver tissue model that more closely resembles the real thing - a diverse combination of liver cells and supporting cells systematically organized in a hexagonal pattern. The liver is unique in that it receives a dual blood supply with different pressures and chemical constituents. "Our model has the potential of reproducing this intricate blood supply system, thus providing unprecedented understanding of the complex coupling between circulation and metabolic functions of the liver in health and disease," Chen explained. The entire structure - 200 micrometers thick - takes just seconds to print. This is a vast improvement over other methods to print liver models which typically take hours. The structure was cultured in vitro for at least 20 days. The researchers then tested the resulting tissue's ability to perform various liver functions, such as albumin secretion and urea production, and compared it to other models. They found that their model was able to maintain these functions over a longer time period than other liver models. Their model also expressed a relatively higher level of a key enzyme that's considered to be involved in metabolizing many of the drugs administered to patients. "I think that this will serve as a great drug screening tool for pharmaceutical companies and that our 3D bioprinting technology opens the door for patient-specific organ printing in the future," Chen added in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The liver tissue constructed by this novel 3D printing technology will also be extremely useful in reproducing in vitro disease models such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and cancer, the authors noted.Source: IANS << A Disposable, Highly Sensitive Biosensing System to Determi... China Confirms First Imported Zika Case, Low Risk of Spread... >> Recommended Reading Surgeons Carve Ears From A Paediatric Rib Cartilage Like Material Using 3D-Printed Moulds The innovation could open the door for aspiring surgeons to become proficient in the sought-after but challenging procedure called auricular reconstruction. READ MORE 54-Year-Old Spanish Man Gets World’s First 3d-Printed Rib Made By Australian Scientists The 3D printer works by directing an electron beam at a bed of titanium powder in order to melt it. The process is repeated, building the product layer-by-layer. READ MORE 3D-Printed Fish-Shaped Microrobots Called 'Microfish' May Help Deliver Drugs Soon Nanoengineers have developed fish-shaped microrobots, called microfish, that can soon help deliver drugs efficiently to the targeted areas in the human body. READ MORE 54-Year-old Chinese Woman Receives 3D-Printed Sternum Implant The Chinese patient was diagnosed with a sternum tumor last year. Doctors printed a 3D sternum and surgically used it in her heart. READ MORE Current Treatments for Liver Cancer Current Treatments for Liver Cancer (also known as hepatoma or hepatocellular carcinoma) can result in complete cure of the disease if it is detected early. READ MORE Drug Toxicity Drug toxicity is an adverse reaction of the body towards a drug that results as a side effect of a drug, reaction to a drug or drug abuse. READ MORE Fatty Liver Disease: A Growing Health Problem in India Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of liver dysfunction worldwide and is a rapidly growing health problem in India. READ MORE Hepatitis A Hepatitis A is the most benign of the hepatitis viruses and usually has no long term side effects. Hepatitis A vaccine is available that is 95% effective in preventing the disease. READ MORE Living Donor Liver Transplant: What Are the Risks? The risk of dying as a result of a living donor liver segment removal is between 0.2-2.0%. The risk of morbidity is anywhere between 1.3% (in highly experienced centers) to 60%. READ MORE Milk Thistle Milk Thistle is a resourceful natural plant which has many medicinal benefits. In herbal medication milk thistle is used in cases of liver diseases. READ MORE Wilson's Disease This is a rare inherited systemic disorder of copper metabolism, affecting the liver mainly before other organs. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Accident and Trauma Care Daily Calorie Requirements Color Blindness Calculator More News on: Drug ToxicityLiver BiopsyHepatitis ASignature Drug ToxicityLiverWilson's DiseaseMilk ThistleCurrent Treatments for Liver CancerFatty Liver Disease: A Growing Health Problem in IndiaLiving Donor Liver Transplant: What Are the Risks?