Japan team create liver from stem cells: report

June 8, 2012

Japanese researchers have created a functioning human liver from stemcells, a report said Friday, raising hopes for the manufacture of artificial organs for those in need of transplants.

A team of scientists transplanted induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into the body of a mouse, where it grew into a small, but working, human liver, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.

Stemcells are frequently harvested from embryos, which are then discarded, a practice some people find morally objectionable. But iPS cells -- which have the potential to develop into any -- can be taken from adults.

A team led by professor Hideki Taniguchi at Yokohama City University developed human iPS cells into "", which they then transplanted into a mouse's head to take advantage of increased blood flow.

The cells grew into a human liver 5 millimetres (0.2 inches) in size that was capable of generating human proteins and breaking down drugs, the Yomiuri reported.

The breakthrough opens the door to the artificial creation of , a key battleground for doctors who constantly face a shortage of transplant donors.

Taniguchi's research could be "an important bridge between basic research and clinical application" but faces various challenges before it can be put into medical practice, the Yomiuri said.

An abstract of Taniguchi's research was delivered to regenerative medicine researchers ahead of an academic conference next week, but Taniguchi declined to comment to AFP before the meeting.

Two separate teams, one from the United States and one from Japan, discovered iPS cells in 2006.

Related Stories

Stem cells reverse disease in a model of Parkinson's disease

May 16, 2011

In a new study to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers compared the ability of cells derived from different types of human stem cell to reverse disease in a rat model of Parkinson disease and ...

Recommended for you

A cheaper, high-performance prosthetic knee

July 30, 2015

In the last two decades, prosthetic limb technology has grown by leaps and bounds. Today, the most advanced prostheses incorporate microprocessors that work with onboard gyroscopes, accelerometers, and hydraulics to enable ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.