Scientists have grown a miniature human liver and transplanted it to a rat. The results of the experiment are published in Cell Reports.
To grow the human liver, scientists used cells scraped from the skin. It took less than a month to create a tiny liver. And the only problem with its creation and transplantation was related to the functioning of the blood flow around the transplant where the liver was transplanted.
According to the scientists report, the miniature human liver looked and behaved like their larger, naturally developed analogs, including the ability to secrete urea and bile acids. A similar technique can be used to treat people with various diseases that affect the liver.
Using iPSC stem cells (those derived from skin cells), scientists were able to create what they call mini-liver. According to the study, the liver remained functional for four days, which they spent as transplants in rats.
The study was a confirmation of the concept that in the future we can simply grow someone a new liver, and not wait for a donor organ transplant.
Currently, for transplantation, the liver comes from donors, which means that the recipient must take immunosuppressants for the rest of his life. Of course, this is by no means an ideal treatment option, and doctors have long dreamed about the day when the patient’s own organ can be grown in the laboratory and then transplanted into his body. However, before it becomes possible to grow transplanted organs for humans, a significant amount of research is needed.