Rudimentary liver grown in vitro:
Japanese scientists coax pluripotent cells to form functional liver tissue, complete with working blood vessels and the ability to metabolize
Although they have yet to publish their results and much work remains to be done, the achievement could have big clinical implications. If the results bear out, they would also constitute a significant advance in the ability to coax stem cells to self-organize into organs.
A very exciting advance for those working on cellular differentiation and organ regeneration. Many, MANY patients die every year waiting for a liver transplant, and while artificially grown lab-livers are still quite a long way off, this is a promising first step towards understanding the conditions necessary to grow and sustain hepatocytes (liver cells) in vitro.
Source: Nature News
Photo: Induced pluripotent stem cells could be a useful source of human organs such as livers. STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY