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Researchers Create Miniature Human Liver Out Of Stem Cells

Mon, 07/08/2013 - 9:46am
Michelle Castillo

Scientists have created a tiny liver from stem cells that helped mice with chronic liver failure regain function.

Researchers in Japan transplanted 4-millimeter-wide "liver buds" made from human stem cells into a mice. The transplanted liver buds, which were placed in the cranium or abdomen, were able to work in conjunction with the mice's own organs and secrete human liver-specific proteins. They also created human metabolites, tiny molecules that are produced when the body metabolizes a substance.

Co-author Takanori Takebe, a stem-cell biologist at Yokohama City University in Japan, said to Nature this was the first time people have made a solid organ using pluripotent stem cells, which are mature skin cells that are re-programmed to become an embryonic cell that can express any genetic characteristics.

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