Earlier this month, The Scientist published its “Top 10 Innovations” of 2016 list, which highlights the best of research tools geared at advancing scientific discoveries in basic biology, drug discovery and in clinical labs.
We are happy to share that functional, three-dimensional human kidney tissue created using 3-D bioprinting—which has the potential to reduce reliance on animal models—made the list! The tissue, made by a company called Organovo, was viewed as a top innovation because of its countless applications in medical research and drug discovery, as well as for its human relevance, which allows this tool to overcome limitations with existing animal models.
The 3-D tissues are constructed using small building blocks made of living human cells. They mimic important architectural and functional characteristics of in vivo tissues and are comprised of multiple cell types, making the models more sophisticated than standard cell models. Three-dimensional bioprinting can be used to produce several different kinds of tissues for disease modeling and toxicology studies. In fact, Organovo’s human liver tissue made the The Scientist’s “Top 10 Innovations” list in 2014.
Judges of this year’s competition recognized that synthetic human kidney tissue could play a vital role in assessing kidney toxicity during drug development. Compared with animal-based models, the 3-D tissue offers a number of advantages, including species relevance, low cost and speed at generating data.
One judge also directly noted the ability of this tool to impact animal use, stating, “This technology can be used instead of preclinical animal trials, reducing our reliance on laboratory animals to test new compounds. It also has the potential to transform drug development by better mimicking human kidney biology to test for the renal toxicity of new drugs.”
We are pleased to see that a human-relevant, cell-based model was recognized as one of the most innovative tools this year, and look forward to models such as this reducing reliance on animal use in a number of areas of research.
READ MORE: Three-dimensional printing of kidney tissues is an exciting potential
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Source: “Top 10 Innovations,” The Scientist. December 2016. Image courtesy of Organovo, Inc.