International Stem Cell Corporation uses a new 3D bioprinting method to produce 3D liver tissue to hopefully help treat liver diseases.
There are over 100 types of liver disease affecting huge numbers of the human population every year. In fact, in the US alone, surgeons perform 6,000 liver transplants each year.
However, this isn’t enough and, according to the American Liver Foundation, around 17,000 patients are on the transplant waiting list. But, International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO), wants to have a 3D printable treatment ready which could shorten wait times for a huge number of these patients.
ISCO is a clinical stage biotechnology company based in California. They use stem cell-based therapies and products. For their most recent announcement, they’ve claimed that they have the ability to 3D print liver tissue.
To do this, they developed a dedicated 3D bioprinter. This printer uses “proprietary liver progenitor cells” (or LPC) as 3D printing material. It’s then possible to differentiate the cells into cholangiocytes, hepatocytes, and stellate cells and produce liver-like structures.
After 3D printing these structures from the LPC, they could possibly be transplanted into the liver. This would hopefully provide a treatment for various liver diseases. Russell Kern, PhD., Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of ISCO, said:
“I’m excited to announce that we have developed a new efficient technology to produce 3D liver tissue, which may be able to replace damaged tissue to restore liver functions. Additionally, the developed liver tissue potentially can be used not only in liver treatment but also in drug discovery as a model for drug screening, which opens up a potential multi-billion market for ISCO.”
In fact, it’s possible to derive the LPC from any pluripotent stem cells. These cells include; human embryonic, induced pluripotent, or parthenogenetic stem cells.
This is made possible with ISCO’s proprietary differentiation method. Kern continues: “We have already developed a master cell bank of the liver progenitor cells and, we are proceeding to test safety and efficacy of the cells in various models of liver diseases like liver cirrhosis and fibrosis.”
However, right now, patients in need of a transplant have only one option – to join the waiting list. This treatment is often successful, but, patients are facing increasingly long waits.In fact, lengthy waits for transplants have led to the deaths of nearly 17% of patients who were on the waiting list. Hopefully, ISCO’s or other bioprinting companies solution will be able to save lives.
Source: Press Release
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