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Bangalore Startup Makes Breakthrough In Developing Liver In Lab

A team of five scientists worked for four years to develop living liver tissues using 3D printing technology. They can now produce 12 mini-livers in about 30 minutes

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It is usually in science fiction that one sees human body parts and organs being created in labs. Now, there is a biotechnology startup Pandorum Technologies that has made this a reality. This Bangalore-based company can develop artificial tissues in just 30 minutes that behave very much like the human liver.

Yes, these tissues can store fat, secrete enzymes and make cholesterol. Basically, they can perform all the main functions of the human liver.

A team of five scientists worked for four years to develop these living liver tissues using 3D printing technology. They can now produce 12 mini-livers in about 30 minutes. The most important part of this project was to design a special bio printer and a cell-laden bio ink to be used for 3D printing.

This breakthrough can help make medical research affordable by reducing the need for human or animal trials to test out new medicines and vaccines. The standard practice is to test on animals or on cells drawn from the humans. However, the response of drugs is not as accurate because it is only a single layer of cells. These three-dimensional liver tissues will help ascertain the right response of drugs and toxins on human body, said company’s co-founder and MD Arun Chandru, who is also an aerospace engineer.

"This will also help save lives of millions of animals that are used in experiments to conduct trials, reducing the cost of experiments by almost 20 per cent,” he added.

Pharma companies usually spend around $10 billion and 10 years of research to get a single new drug out in the market. The global market for in-vitro toxicity testing alone is expected to reach four billion dollars by 2018, the company release informed.

"Going forward, we plan to work on developing complete organs, reducing the need for finding organ donors which is still a major roadblock across the globe. Currently, there is a need for 50,000 livers every year in India alone but only 1,500 people are able to receive transplants, said the company’s co-founder and chairman Dr Tuhin Bhowmick, who holds a PhD from the Indian Institute of Science.

Founded in 2011 by academic entrepreneurs, Pandorum Technologies focuses on tissue engineering to design and manufacture functional, three-dimensional living human tissues; intended for medical research, therapeutic and other applications.

The company has got research grants of close of $100,000 from Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council, Department of Biotechnology under Government of India.


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