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First Functioning Human Organ Made of Induced Stem Cells


Science & Tech  (tags: body, discovery, health, investigation, liver, NewTechnology, science, stem cells )

Kit
- 441 days ago - blogs.discovermagazine.com
A team of Japanese researchers has created the first functioning human organ, a liver, from induced pluripotent stem cells.



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Kit B. (276)
Friday July 5, 2013, 7:37 am
Photo Credit: Takanori Takebe -- Proto-livers in dishes in the lab.


A team of Japanese researchers has created the first functioning human organ, a liver, from induced pluripotent stem cells. While the technology is at least a decade from clinical application, it opens the door to using stem cells to solve the shortage of donor organs.

The organ precursors were grown in the lab using iPS cells. When these early organs, called liver buds, were transplanted into mice, they matured into tissue resembling the adult human liver. After just four to six days, the cells had self-organized into a functioning organ with a healthy blood supply.



Made from stem cells

The team of researchers at Yokohama City University began with human skin cells, which they genetically reverted to an embryonic stem-cell state and then coaxed into liver-precursor cells. They then exposed these cells to environments similar to what the developing liver experiences in a fetus, adding to the dish stem cells that line blood vessels and form tissues. Within 48 hours the cells had amassed into tiny proto-organs visible to the naked eye.

Once the liver buds were about 4 or 5 millimeters, the team implanted 12 liver buds into either the brain or abdomen of each mouse—sites chosen for their ease of access. The researchers had labeled the cells with fluorescent proteins, which helped them monitor the buds for formation of blood vessels.

They found that the organ developed a vascular system almost immediately and performed liver-specific functions within weeks. By day ten the transplanted liver buds were producing albumin, a key protein produced by the liver. After 60 days the gene expression of cells in the liver bud had significantly shifted from its precursor cells.

Proof that it works

As further proof, the mice were given drugs that mice livers cannot normally metabolize but human livers can. The mice successfully broke down these drugs into the same components that humans do.

The results are published today in Nature.

The technique is unlikely to produce whole replacement livers, but could be used to grow mini-livers that supplement a failing organ. Such transplants wouldn’t even need to be located near the existing liver. Lead researcher Takanori Takebe hopes to reduce the size of the liver buds to 100 micrometers, so they can be injected into the bloodstream of mice.

Takebe estimates that with an infusion of hundreds of thousands of liver buds, about 30 percent of a person’s liver function could be restored. “The limitation at the moment is to create enough suitable liver buds in sufficient quantity to create a viable clinical therapy,” he said.

The team envisions treatment initially for infants and children who have critical liver damage and would die without therapy.
****

By: Becky Lang | Discover Magazine |
 

Monica T. (294)
Friday July 5, 2013, 7:51 am
Interesting... Thanks for posting!
 

Mike S. (86)
Friday July 5, 2013, 7:52 am
Great find Kit! Thank you for posting.
 

Sue Matheson (71)
Friday July 5, 2013, 8:00 am
thanks
 

JL A. (275)
Friday July 5, 2013, 8:24 am
Very promising indeed!
 

Nancy M. (201)
Friday July 5, 2013, 8:45 am
Great article. I knew that scientists had obtained cardiomyocetes that could beat, but not yet actually turned them into a heart. Great to know that organs can be obtained. And the beauty is, in many cases, your own cells can be used- no worry about graft versus host.

 

Dee C. (214)
Friday July 5, 2013, 10:25 am
Wonderful to see..

Thanks Kit..
 

pam w. (191)
Friday July 5, 2013, 10:30 am
At last! We've known the potential for years....good to see it coming into ''common'' use.
 

Tamara Noforwardsplz (185)
Friday July 5, 2013, 11:12 am
I think this is a very promising advancement in medicine and technology. Great post Kit.
 

Lois Jordan (55)
Friday July 5, 2013, 3:06 pm
Noted. Interesting, thanks, Kit.
 

marie c. (168)
Friday July 5, 2013, 5:59 pm
Noted a pity about the mice wish there was another way.
The suffering they must have gone through.
Thanks Kit i
 

Aud nordby (713)
Saturday July 6, 2013, 2:51 am
noted
 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday July 6, 2013, 6:27 am
I have long been a supporter of stem cell research and this just goes to prove that it works. Think of those children who can't get a transplant because there isn't an organ available or they don't have the money. If you're David Crosby or some other fat cat who's wasted away his life in the rock and roll lifestyle and then finds out his liver is failing him; why you just buy yourself another liver. I hear he now needs another one. Stem cell research will be able to provide for his need; just not yet. Sorry old man but apart from the 1st CNY album you really never did much to impress me. Now if you had the decency to die with dignity and donate all your money to stem cell research why, that would be exemplary. Here's to the kids....Hope in the future.
 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday July 6, 2013, 6:28 am
I have long been a supporter of stem cell research and this just goes to prove that it works. Think of those children who can't get a transplant because there isn't an organ available or they don't have the money. If you're David Crosby or some other fat cat who's wasted away his life in the rock and roll lifestyle and then finds out his liver is failing him; why you just buy yourself another liver. I hear he now needs another one. Stem cell research will be able to provide for his need; just not yet. Sorry old man but apart from the 1st CNY album you really never did much to impress me. Now if you had the decency to die with dignity and donate all your money to stem cell research why, that would be exemplary. Here's to the kids....Hope in the future.
 

Jennifer C. (172)
Saturday July 6, 2013, 6:37 am
Noted. Thanks.
 

Jaime A. (32)
Saturday July 6, 2013, 6:41 am
Noted. Thanks
 

Bob P. (427)
Saturday July 6, 2013, 6:57 am
interesting thanks Kit
 

Gene Jacobson (252)
Saturday July 6, 2013, 1:24 pm
"The team envisions treatment initially for infants and children who have critical liver damage and would die without therapy."

The really great part of this story is that it could go ever so much farther. There are techniques now that are invasive to other species, pigs in particular, but this, being able to grow organs in a lab holds tremendous potential for good, without harming any other animal. I like that part and really hope this goes faster than predicted.
 

Michael Kirkby (85)
Saturday July 6, 2013, 3:25 pm
Very promising.
 

Winn Adams (192)
Saturday July 6, 2013, 5:34 pm
Wow, thanks!
 

Paul Girardin (140)
Saturday July 6, 2013, 11:07 pm
Noted & shared!

Fascinating!
 

Sherri G. (113)
Monday July 8, 2013, 2:32 am
This would be great news albeit 10 years out for millions with chronic hepatitis. TY Kit Noted. Excellent article.
 
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