Human organs engineered in the lab and this time not by growing it on animals but by using animal organs to create it.
As presented in Sunday’s American Association for the study of liver disease in Boston, a groundbreaking technique for developing human livers that would actually work. The research presented by scientists from the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center showed how miniature livers could be formed from human liver cells in the lab in a technique that could open up new avenues for engineering a range of vital tissues in the lab.
To create these miniature human livers, animal livers were harvested and washed out with a mild detergent in a technique known as “decellularization” which breaks down the cells in the structure and removes them leaving only the celular scaffold that gives the organ its structure. Human liver cells were then piped into place via the natural vessel system that remains and the liver will then be connected to a bioreactor, a machine that mimics the conditions inside a living body creating the ideal conditions for the human cells to grow until the original shape is regained.
It is hoped that this development will close the supply-demand gap between those who need the organ and those donating it.
This technique is still in its developmental stage and will need to be tested further, although animal livers have been created in this process before.
Adopted from Researchers Grow Miniature, Working Human Livers in the Lab by Clay Dillow