Researchers as part of a study have developed functional human and mouse tissue-engineered liver using adult stem and progenitor cells. The study published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine offers hopes for advance stage liver patients who die waiting for donors.
There are around 30 million people across the world suffering from liver disease. In 2010, over 1 million people died due to cirrhosis, a chronic liver condition. Some patients can be treated through the help of partial qualities of functional liver tissue, but this is not always helpful.
Another treatment is liver cell transplantation, which has been limitedly successful as its benefits do not last more than a year. Some researchers also tried to produce liver tissue with the help of pluripotent stem cells, but they received failures.
A new attempt led by researchers at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles to make intestinal tissue involved generating liver organoid units, or LOU from both human and mouse livers. They then implanted both of them in mouse. Both experiments were able to grow tissue-engineered liver, produce bile duct, and generated blood vessels, hepatocytes and other cells, needed by the liver for its working.
According to the study researchers, in future the therapy could offer immense benefits over cellular reprogramming or immunsuppression to treat last-stage liver diseases.
“A cellular therapy for liver disease would be a game-changer for many patients, particularly children with metabolic disorders. By demonstrating the ability to generate hepatocytes and to show that these cells are functional and proliferative, we’ve moved one step closer to that goal”, said Dr. Kasper Wang, a pediatric surgeon and researcher at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.