Bioprinted kidneys


By Adam Florance
Wednesday, 25 January, 2017


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A collaborative effort between the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI), the Methuselah Foundation and Organovo has created a new hope for children suffering from kidney disease, with a pioneering use of 3D bioprinting technology.

Since its inception in 1986, MCRI has been translating the knowledge created from innovative research into effective treatments for sick children. Professor Melissa Little, Theme Director of Cell Biology at MCRI, has been at the forefront of a project to recreate human kidney tissue from stem cells.

“Using Organovo’s bioprinter will give us the opportunity to bioprint these cells into a more accurate model of the kidney,” said Professor Little. “While initially important for modelling disease and screening drugs, we hope that this is also the first step towards regenerative medicine for kidney disease.”

Organovo is a California-based biotech firm at the forefront of 3D bioprinting technology. Through the collaboration with MCRI — and generous funding from the Methuselah Foundation — Organovo hopes to develop an architecturally correct kidney.

“Partnerships with world-class institutions can accelerate groundbreaking work in finding cures for critical unmet disease needs and the development of implantable therapeutic tissues,” said Organovo CEO Keith Murphy. “This collaboration with Professor Little’s lab is another important step in this direction. With the devoted and ongoing support of the Methuselah Foundation, leading researchers are able to leverage Organovo’s powerful technology platform to achieve significant breakthroughs.”

Professor Little said: “We are very grateful to Organovo and the Methuselah Foundation for this generous support, which will enable us to advance our research with the first Organovo bioprinter in the Southern Hemisphere.”

The Methuselah Foundation is a non-profit medical charity focused on extending life and improving quality of life by opportunistically leveraging resources, enabling partnerships and awarding prizes and grants. The foundation’s University 3D Bioprinter Program is donating $500,000 for Organovo bioprinter research projects to several local research facilities.

“We at the Methuselah Foundation have been a long-time supporter of academic and industry research in 3D bioprinting, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering,” said Methuselah CEO David Gobel. “Our University 3D Bioprinter Program puts Organovo’s breakthrough 3D bioprinting technology in the hands of the brightest scientists at tissue engineering centres of excellence.”

Image credit: ©hywards/Dollar Photo Club

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