Organovo Holdings, Inc., a San Diego-based 3-D bioprinting company, announced a collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco to develop 3-D bioprinted tissues for skeletal disease research. The collaboration is being funded by the nonprofit Methuselah Foundation.

Muscoskeletal diseases are the second-leading cause of disabilities worldwide, while inherited skeletal disorders affect 2.4 out of every 10,000 births.

"When we study skeletal diseases, such as bone cancer, most of the research occurs in a two-dimensional environment, such as a petri dish. That tells us a lot about how cells interact with other cells, but not how they function in a natural three-dimensional scaffold,” said Dr. Edward Hsiao, assistant professor, UCSF School of Medicine."This type of 3D bioprinting creates better mechanisms for combining inorganic scaffolds with live cells and will likely have key implications for how we repair damaged skeletal tissues, as well as many other tissues in the body.”

Methuselah is donating at least $500,000 in direct funding to be divided among several institutions for Organovo bioprinter research projects. This funding will cover budgeted bioprinter costs and key aspects of project execution.