University of Queensland researchers helping to 3D print a human kidney

The University of Queensland’s commercialization company, UniQuest, has recently signed an agreement with a US firm that specializes in 3D printing of human tissues.

UQ’s researchers involved in the project are Professor Melissa Little from the Institute of Molecular Bioscience and Professor Justin Cooper-White from the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.  Together with Organovo (the San Diego based company) they will be working towards 3D printing fully functional kidneys to be used for better disease modelling and drug development.

UQ’s Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology has developed a technology that allows researchers to determine the best conditions for stem cells to develop into tissue cells.  With the right combination of cells it is possible to create a functional mini-kidney suitable for drug and toxicity screening.

“The mini-kidneys being developed need to closely resemble the human organ so we can be confident that drug screening in the lab will generate the same response,” Professor Cooper-White said.

“We believe our microbioreactor technology provides an environment more akin to that of a living human body, enabling us to provide cells with the optimum conditions needed to achieve the end objective of 3D printed mini-kidneys.”

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