Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

Fully functional human liver grown in lab

By Tim Sandle     Jan 30, 2016 in Science
The search for artificial organs continues. In a recent step-forwards, scientists have produced the most realistic lab-grown liver tissue yet seen. This is through lab-on-chip technology.
The quest for artificial organs is for two main reasons. First, there is a shortage of organs for people who are ill or injured to receive as donations. Those waiting for a kidney transplant, for example, can wait for many months. Sadly, some people die before a suitable organ cane be found. The second reason is comparability. Not all organs are suitable for transplant or they are rejected by the body of the recipient.
These factors are driving research into artificial organs, grown in a laboratory. A recent breakthrough is with growing an artificial liver tissue of a type suitable for transplant into a human. Although many more developments will be required before a human transplant takes place, the scientists behind the discovery are hopeful that their findings represent a significant step in the quest for a lab-to-human liver transplant.
The work has been led by Jinyi Wang at Northwest A&F University, in China. Wang's tram took human cells, extracted from a human liver, and produced microfluidics-based tissue that mimics tissue found in the human body. Microfluidics is a multidisciplinary field where low volumes of fluids are processed to achieve precise interactions in the fields of biology and physics. In Wang's work, the fluids were used as part of research on lab-on-a-chip devices. These devices integrate different laboratory functions on a single chip (a few millimeters in size) to achieve automation and high-throughput screening, which allows hundreds of samples to be processed quickly.
Giz Mag notes the essential part of growing the liver was in getting the metabolic rate correct so it matched a liver as it would function in the human body. This is achieved through designing the tiny and complex lobules that make up the liver. These deal with essential functions like bile secretion and managing blood flow.
Wang's results are published in the journal Analytical Chemistry. The research is called "On-Chip Construction of Liver Lobule-like Microtissue and Its Application for Adverse Drug Reaction Assay."
More about lab grown organs, Organs, Liver, Stem cells
More news from