SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — A California-based company said they are making progress toward creating liver tissue using a 3-D printer, the company’s CEO announced Wednesday.

As part of a keynote address at the Inside 3D Printing conference in Santa Clara, Organovo CEO Keith Murphy told the attendees the new liver tissue could launch as early as next month.

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According to industry website On 3D Printing, Murphy said the technology remains in its infancy. The website said printing entire human organs is a long way off. While Organovo has developed 3D printed organs being tested in animals, clinical trials for partial organs is 4-6 years away and entire organs further than that.

Based in San Diego, Organovo creates tissues with a 3-D printer to test the effects of drugs and for therapies.

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On its website, Organovo describes its business as threefold. The last item may be the most groundbreaking, and most challenging:

FROM OGANOVO: Our goal is to build living human tissues that are proven to function like native tissues. With reproducible 3D tissues that accurately represent human biology, we are enabling ground-breaking therapies by:

  • Partnering with biopharmaceutical companies and academic medical centers to design, build, and validate more predictive in vitro tissues for disease modeling and toxicology. 
  • Giving researchers something they have never had before: the opportunity to test drugs on functional human tissues before ever administering the drug to a living person; bridging the gulf between preclinical testing and clinical trials. 
  • Creating functional, three dimensional tissues that can be implanted or delivered into the human body to repair or replace damaged or diseased tissues.

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