Some years ago now, how time flies, the Methuselah Foundation funded the tissue engineering company Organovo when it was still in its earliest startup stages. That investment continues to do well, in all senses, as Organovo has gone on to build a range of technologies relating to bioprinting and growth of sections of functional tissue from cells. The folk at Organovo recently announced a new product for research and development initiatives based on manufacture of kidney tissue to order, and the Methuselah Foundation principals took the opportunity to point out to supporters just how far things have come. The funds invested in Organovo were provided by donors like you and I, given in the hopes that the Methuselah Foundation could put them to good use in advancing the state of the art. In this, as in many other areas, success has followed success. As other companies are funded by the Methuselah Foundation and SENS Research Foundation, such as Oisin Biotechnologies, we'll be seeing more of this sort of thing in the future.
To all our Supporters and Friends,
We have some exciting developments we want to share with all of you who have given your time and financial support! Methuselah Foundation's goal, from its beginning, has been to extend healthy human life. Our mission is to make 90 the new 50 by the year 2030. Your financial support continues to make it possible for the foundation to explore and implement science that is bringing our goal closer, both for our supporters, and for all the rest of humanity. Over eight years ago we had a shared vision with Organovo to create "New parts for People" - viable human tissue with the goal to create bioidentical human organs and 3D tissue to, among other things, alleviate the organ shortage plaguing the entire world. This shared vision motivated the Methuselah Foundation to provide the seed money that would allow Organovo to begin its work on this goal. It's worth noting that at the time we invested foundation funds into Organovo it was the most turbulent financial landscape this country had seen since the 1929 stock market crash, while the goals we were all pursuing were still considered next to impossible by most. Still, we saw the need to consider Return On Mission ahead of potential Return On Investment.
From the very beginning, we have been judiciously opportunistic in leveraging donated funds. The exciting news we want to share with you bears out what an effective strategy this is: this past week, Organovo announced it had created the world's first ever 3D architecturally correct human kidney tissue assays. Those in the scientific and medical fields can recognize the significance of this achievement, and we also want to talk to you about some of the amazing implications that this brings. (You can also read their press release).
According to the National Institutes of Health developing a new intervention or treatment currently takes about 14 years and can cost nearly 2 billion dollars. Despite this effort, failure rates can still be as high as 95%. Some 30% may fail because they are toxic, despite promising pre-clinical trials. Another 60% that show promise in animal testing do not work on humans. This means years can go by before patients can receive any benefit from all this hard work. All that now has the potential to change. With the ability to create architecturally correct 3D human tissue, we can cut off as much as a decade of time and hundreds of millions, even billions of wasted drug development dollars. The ability to test with viable human tissue is also making animal testing (already illegal in the EU) obsolete!
What else does this mean? It will mean that due to the greatly reduced costs, more drugs can be tested, faster and vastly more accurately - exponentially increasing the rate we find new and better SENS-relevant interventions and cures. Tantalizingly, there have been drugs in the past that were pulled from the shelves because, although they were effective for 99% of the population, a tiny number of people experienced adverse effects, resulting in such drugs being pulled from the market. Viable human tissue testing will allow companies to test for the genetic markers that react negatively to otherwise effective drugs and screen for them. This means access to many more drugs and treatments that can now be made available for those for whom the treatments are effective, and held back from those who would have adverse reactions.
There are yet many more exciting advances to come and you will find them outlined in greater detail at the Methuselah Foundation blog in upcoming posts. We will also update you in future emails and videos at our website to give the advances we are making. Remember, it is your support that has made this possible! You can show your continuing support for our work by donating, and please feel free to share this news with your friends and colleagues! We look forward to sharing the fruits of our future achievements together!
Sincere thanks to you all,
P.S. You might also read an interesting perspective on Organovo's achievement from one of the leading 3D printing blogs.
Organovo, a three-dimensional biology company focused on delivering scientific and medical breakthroughs using its 3D bioprinting technology, today announced that it has begun commercial contracting for its second tissue service, the ExVive Human Kidney. This kidney proximal tubule model is a natural expansion of the Company's preclinical product and service portfolio, allowing customers to study the effects of drug exposure on a key portion of the human kidney relevant to drug discovery and development.
The ExVive Human Kidney has demonstrated important functional aspects that offer significant value in preclinical testing, including: (1) Demonstrated proximal tubule function for more than four weeks, as measured by gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) production; (2) Tissue-like complexity that supports the detection of injury, compensation, and recovery; (3) Physiological expression of key transporters as measured by gene and protein expression, which allows for the assessment of kidney toxicity and drug:drug interactions by modeling normal tissue function; (4) Modulatable activity of key renal transporters P-gp, SGLT2, and OCT2, demonstrating a high correlation to difficult to replicate human biology; (5) Demonstrated toxicity of model kidney toxicant cisplatin, and inhibition of toxicity when blocking OCT2 function, demonstrating specific inhibition of cisplatin transport through a known transporter; and (6) Barrier function (permeability) comparable to in-vivo values, as measured by trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TEER).
ExVive Human Kidney, a 3D bioprinted proximal tubule model, will allow for clients and researchers to better study the effects that drugs and certain treatments have on the human kidney, effectively opening the doors for advanced drug discovery and development. So far, a number of commercial orders for the innovative product have already been placed with Organovo. According to a press release, the 3D bioprinting company is also already collaborating with a number of toxicology panels and transporter studies as part of an early access program for their new product. Organovo has made a name for itself within the 3D bioprinting industry for its innovative and disruptive bioprinted tissue services. Both the ExVive Human Kidney and Liver products offer the unique opportunity for pharmaceutical researchers to replicate complex cell-cell interactions and elements of tissue architecture to test and determine the effects of drugs on the organ. The company's 3D bioprinted tissues have opened the doors for more rapid and cost efficient drug discovery process.