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LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have for the first time created a functional human liver from stem cells derived from skin and blood and say their success points to a future where much-needed livers and other transplant organs could be made in a laboratory.

While it may take another 10 years before lab-grown livers could be used to treat patients, the Japanese scientists say they now have important proof of concept that paves the way for more ambitious organ-growing experiments.

"The promise of an off-the-shelf liver seems much closer than one could hope even a year ago," said Dusko Illic, a stem cell expert at King's College London who was not directly involved in the research but praised its success.

He said however that while the technique looks "very promising" and represents a huge step forward, "there is much unknown and it will take years before it could be applied in regenerative medicine."

Researchers around the world have been studying stem cells from various sources for more than a decade, hoping to capitalize on their ability to transform into a wide variety of other kinds of cell to treat a range of health conditions.

There are two main forms of stem cells - embryonic stem cells, which are harvested from embryos, and reprogrammed "induced pluripotent stem cells" (iPS cells), often taken from skin or blood.

 The Japanese team, based at the Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, used iPS cells to make three different cell types that would normally combine in the natural formation of a human liver in a developing embryo - hepatic endoderm cells, mesenchymal stem cells and endothelial cells - and mixed them together to see if they would grow.

They found the cells did grow and began to form three-dimensional structures called "liver buds" - a collection of liver cells with the potential to develop into a full organ.

When they transplanted them into mice, the researchers found the human liver buds matured, the human blood vessels connected to the mouse host's blood vessels and they began to perform many of the functions of mature human liver cells.

 

The study's results offered "the distinct possibility of being able to create mini livers from the skin cells of a patient dying of liver failure" and transplant them to boost the failing organ.

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Posted

Just the tip of the iceberg, everything from trans-genic animal organs to grown (like this) or printed - possibly using this technique for "ink."

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This is good news, especially for those in desperate need of organs (assuming they used host genes to make 'said' organ compatible, in one respect it would also help as the patient would not need to live on certain drugs that they would have to take for the rest of their lives

 

I remember my late auntie needing to take some.

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Posted

I hope that science makes things easier for my son generation.

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Posted

By the time I die, organ donors might be a thing of the past...

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Posted

Can't believe this stuff is still not allowed in many parts of the world because of idiotic religious douchebags.

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By the time I die, organ donors might be a thing of the past...

 

 

Could very well be... I'd expect that by the time you die, we won't be cutting people open to do organ transplants,, we won't even be doing transplants. If they have tech to grow an organ outside the body, I'm sure its only a matter of time before they find a way to allow our bodies to regrow the damaged parts too... Lost a finger? no problem take these tablets and we'll give you an injection to regrow it.

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I don't know of any religions that don't permit the kind of stem sell use that was used grow these livers. Remember, there are two kinds of stem cell research, embryonic and iPS. Only embryonic stem cell research is condemned by the mast majority (if not all) religions that speak against stem cell research because this kind of research requires the destruction of embryos. iPS stem cell research doesn't use embryos at all, no one is killed and therefore these methods are encouraged y many religions.

 

It's quite clear that blood and skin cells were used (iPS) in this research, so I think that few to none religions would object to it.

 

Coincidently, iPS stem cell research has yielded a great many more viable treatments than embryonic stem cell research; while there are a great many theories about how embryonic stem cells might potentially be used, I haven't heard of anything viable having come from this research.

 

 

Can't believe this stuff is still not allowed in many parts of the world because of idiotic religious douchebags.

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Posted

Maybe one day, everyone will be able to purchase organs online. Please have your credit or debit card ready!

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Posted

I'm going to have to start drinking a lot more so I can get a liver upgrade.

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Maybe one day, everyone will be able to purchase organs online. Please have your credit or debit card ready!

 

 

They kind of did that in the movie, Coma. :ninja:

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Can't believe this stuff is still not allowed in many parts of the world because of idiotic religious douchebags.

Too true, but also keep in mind the other side of the coin. Business and Defense for starts. Tho do agree that we really are holding our selfs back from the next step in the ladder of evolution by not allowing or using this for purely medical purposes. I guess what it really keeps boiling back down to is man`s own nature for greed and corruption with in this matter. Once again its the Atomic Bomb argument, we create Nuclear as power source, but then weaponize it for war. :(

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Posted

Good stuff

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