SYDNEY, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Australian scientists revealed on Friday that they will team up with U.S. biotech company Organovo to create 3D "bioprinted" stem cells, with the aim of treating patients of debilitating kidney disorders.
The Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) and the Royal Children's Hospital will join forces with San Diego-based Organovo to create artificial living kidney tissue in a laboratory.
"Kidney disease is called a silent disease as there are often few or no symptoms," said Professor Melissa Little, director of MCRI Cell Biology.
"No new treatments have become available in the past 60 years, making this an urgent healthcare issue."
Little explained how the system uses a computer-guided pipette to layer living cells, referred to as bio-ink, on top of one another to create stem cell-based therapeutic tissue for treating end-stage renal disease.
Organovo Chief Executive Taylor Crouch said, "partnerships with world-class institutions can accelerate ground-breaking work in finding cures for critical unmet disease needs and the development of implantable therapeutic tissues."
In 2015 Little and her team were the first ever to grow a kidney organoid in a petri dish -- a tiny representation of an actual working kidney.
"No larger than the tip of your finger, the lab-grown mini-kidneys have the hallmarks of a regular-sized kidney, including the tiny tubes and blood vessels that form nephrons, the organ's filtering structures," Little said.
"The mini-kidneys are already being used to better understand how kidneys develop and how kidney disease occurs. This new program hopes to develop new treatments."