insults from acetaminophen, acetaminophen in combination
with ethanol and diclofenac; and cholesterol biosynthesis. Later
the same year, Organovo began offering contracting services for
toxicity testing using its 3-D human liver tissue for selected clients prior to full release. Then in November 2014, the company
released its exVive3D human liver tissue for preclinical drug discovery testing. Companies can now buy manufactured liver tissue for testing. Not quite a 3-D printed liver for implantation in a
patient, but that reality is foreseeable now. The company aims to
soon provide kidney tissue.
The Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMTech) group at
the University of Iowa College of Engineering’s Center for Computer Aided Design has also, since 2013, been working on creating human tissue. AMTech was formed to design, create, and
test—both virtually and physically—a wide variety of electromechanical and biomedical components, systems, and processes. It
has made steps towards solving a very difficult problem for orthopedics—growing cartilage (see image on page 41). Cartilage is
an avascular, aneural, alymphatic tissue. As such, once damaged,
it cannot be regenerated or regrown naturally.
“The long-term goal of this branch is to create functioning
human organs some five or 10 years from now,” Tim Marler, co-director of AMtech, said in 2013.“This is not far-fetched.”
MPO house:Layout 1 4/29/15 9:21 AM Page 1
Researchers from the University of Wollongong’s ARC Centre
of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) and St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, are also making rapid
advancements in bioprinting. Associate Professor Damian Myers
led a project where cartilage was grown from stem cells applied
to a 3-D printed scaffold. Stem cells were isolated from adipose
tissue that was collected from under the kneecap. The growth required 28 days.
“We are trying to create a tissue environment that can ‘
self-repair’ over many years, meaning the repaired site will not deteriorate,” Myers said. “It’s very exciting work, and we’ve done the
hard yards to show that what we have cultured is what we want
for use in surgery for cartilage repair.”
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“Within a few years, we believe it will be possible to manufacture living tissues like skin, cartilage, arteries, and heart valves using cells and biomaterials,” said ACES Director Professor Gordon
Wallace. “Using a patient’s own cells to create this tissue avoids
issues of immune rejection. By 2025, it is feasible that we will
be able to fabricate complete functional organs, tailored for an
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Customizable, rapid-prototyped human tissue will, by most
expert’s predictions, be a reality within a decade.
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“Welcome to the future of CAD (computer aided design),” proclaims the website of Onshape Inc., a newly founded company
that aims to bring CAD to the cloud and mobile spaces. The company was founded by John Hirschtick, who was previously CEO
of Solid Works Corp., a well-respected CAD company that is now
a subsidiary of Dassault Systèmes.
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