The future for artificial livers

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

Chinese researchers have built an artificial liver that supports a patient's own failing liver and helps it to repair itself...
So how you achieve something like this? The biological component of this device is the key to its success. The scientists generated renewable human liver cells to build a working artificial liver. By carefully tweaking genes in mature cells, they reprogrammed the cells, unspecialising them and producing rapidly-dividing liver stem cells. These were then grown as 3d spherical clumps of cells and loaded into an artificial liver device. The resulting system was then tested in pigs with liver damage. Animals given the artificial liver treatment had significantly less tissue damage and showed improved regeneration of their own livers after a drug-induced injury, resembling a drug overdose in humans, to their own livers. Although it's early days, the ultimate aim is, one day, to use this in humans who desperately need a working liver.

Period20 Aug 2020

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleThe future for artificial livers
    Media name/outletNaked Scientists
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date20/08/20
    DescriptionChinese researchers have built an artificial liver that supports a patient's own failing liver and helps it to repair itself...



    So how you achieve something like this? The biological component of this device is the key to its success. The scientists generated renewable human liver cells to build a working artificial liver. By carefully tweaking genes in mature cells, they reprogrammed the cells, unspecialising them and producing rapidly-dividing liver stem cells. These were then grown as 3d spherical clumps of cells and loaded into an artificial liver device. The resulting system was then tested in pigs with liver damage. Animals given the artificial liver treatment had significantly less tissue damage and showed improved regeneration of their own livers after a drug-induced injury, resembling a drug overdose in humans, to their own livers. Although it's early days, the ultimate aim is, one day, to use this in humans who desperately need a working liver.
    PersonsDavid Hay