Scientists 3D-print human liver tissue in a lab, win top prizes in NASA challenge -
Jun 10, 2021 1 min, 33 secs

Scientists have successfully grown liver tissue capable of functioning for 30 days in the lab as part of NASA's Vascular Tissue Challenge.

In 2016, NASA put forth this competition to find teams that could "create thick, vascularized human organ tissue in an in-vitro environment to advance research and benefit medicine on long-duration missions and on Earth," according to an agency challenge description.

When NASA started this challenge in 2016, we weren’t sure there would be a winner," Jim Reuter, NASA associate administrator for space technology, said in a statement.

As dictated in the challenge rules, the teams had to keep their tissues "alive" for 30-day trials.

The team that won first place, called team Winston, is the first team to complete its trial with the engineered tissue under the challenge rules and will receive $300,000 and the opportunity to further this work aboard the International Space Station, according to the statement.

However, he added, "We're very optimistic about the tissue constructs being in space, and we hope that they would behave similarly [to how they behave on Earth].".

However, while these future applications of tissue engineering have yet to be seen, by studying these structures in space, such as aboard the space station, researchers can significantly advance our understanding of how that might work. .

"The potential to study this technology further in space is really exciting," Robyn Gatens, director of the International Space Station at NASA Headquarters, said about tissue engineering during the telecon.

"One of the benefits of this challenge for space exploration is the creation of organ analogs that we could use to study deep space environmental effects like radiation and microgravity deconditioning." .

NASA's Vascular Tissue Challenge is led by the agency's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley and is a part of the Centennial Challenges, a challenges, prizes and crowdsourcing program within NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, according to the statement

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