Edit ModuleShow Tags

A San Diego Biotech Company is Making Tiny Livers on Demand

“This is an opportunity to really understand how a drug is going to work in humans,” says Organovo cofounder and CEO.


Published:

Photo by Organovo

With 3-D printing, you can produce just about anything— from simple household items to human stem cells. Sorrento Mesa-based biotech company Organovo is taking it one step further and printing miniature livers, kidneys, and other tissues.

It’s tempting to imagine a future where solid human organs can be engineered in a lab, and potentially help end the shortage of donor organs. (In the U.S., 22 people die each day waiting for an organ.) But while complete organs ready for transplant are likely more than a decade away, Organovo’s micro-livers have some exciting immediate advantages. For one, they respond to drugs like real livers—which means they can be used by pharmaceutical companies to test the safety of new medicines.

“We have shown multiple drugs—that were not seen to be toxic, based on studies in rats and 2-D hepatocytes, but then had costly problems in late-stage human trials—to have a clear toxicity in our tissue,” says Keith Murphy, cofounder and CEO of Organovo. “This is an opportunity to really understand, in a much better way, how a drug is going to work in humans.”

The company is also printing tiny tumors, made with cells from actual cancer patients. Just like with the mini-livers, the idea is to give drug companies a better way to test new therapies. As Murphy points out, without the tools to see how a drug will react with cancer cells in humans, there is no next step in cancer therapy. The idea is that the tiny tumors engineered in Organovo’s lab will eventually provide that next step.

Read more about Organovo’s micro-livers here.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

That's What She Said: Cheers to Dreaming Big this New Year

The rumors, events, people, and stories keeping the Mesa interesting

That's What SHE Said: Let’s Conquer Walkability

The rumors, events, people, and stories keeping the Mesa interesting

That's What SHE Said: Finding Solutions to a Broken Funding System

The rumors, events, people, and stories keeping the Mesa interesting
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Life On the Mesa

Where innovation and discovery happens in San Diego

About This Blog

Did you know they are making tiny livers in Sorrento Mesa? They are! Real ones. This blog will tell that story, and many others like it. Whether you're a grad student slogging it out in a lab or a post-doc grappling with funding issue, a scientist waiting on a breakthrough or a banker looking for the next big thing, or even a parent, spouse, friend or curious observer of these people, this blog is for you. It's a place to celebrate and discover what's happening on The Mesa. The science, the business, the people. The discoveries, the stories, the impact. It feels like most of us in San Diego don't know enough, yet, about this stuff. We're here to work on changing that. We'd like there to be some discussion of science, technology and innovative-type things at every cocktail party on San Diego, and hopefully this blog can help provide the fodder. 

Recent Posts

Archives

Feed

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Life On the Mesa Feed »

Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle

Buy a Raffle Ticket, Win This Rare Sports Car

Donate to a good cause to seriously upgrade your ride
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. First Look: Born & Raised
    Everyone said don't do a steakhouse. So the damn kids at Consortium Holdings did with Born & Raised—to the tune of seven million bucks.
  2. 47 Outdoor Dining Spots to Try in San Diego
    From ocean views, rooftops, and garden patios to simple sidewalk people-watching, we’ve rounded up the city's best outdoor dining spots
  3. The Vegan Fast Food Revolution
    From Evolution to Plant Power, two local vegans look to revolutionize fast food
  4. Adele Stratton Leaves Noble Experiment for Jaynes Gastropub
    Her first menu features light, crisp, approachable cocktails
  5. The San Diego Lager Boom
    Why light, crisp, and flavorful is the next “new” thing
  6. The Newcomer's Guide to San Diego
    Welcome to America’s Finest City! Here’s everything you need to know to feel like a local
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module