Liver created from stem cells

2012-06-08 11:05

Tokyo - Japanese researchers have created a functioning human liver from stem cells, a report said on 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.

Stem cells 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 body tissue - can be taken from adults.

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

The cells grew into a human liver five millimetres 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 human organs, 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.

  • Tamarin - 2012-06-08 11:40

    The future is here. This is an amazing development in sience!

      jody.beggs - 2012-06-08 11:49

      Go Science ..

      jackie.stone.501 - 2012-06-09 17:46

      Thank God

  • Stephen - 2012-06-08 11:55

    And who will be standing first in the queue for new organs, those American born again Christian who band stem cell research, because it’s killing children.

      Stephen - 2012-06-08 13:18

      Oh! a thumbs down.

      Dinonofopico - 2012-06-09 16:17

      you r an idiot to think that only born again christians are concerned about the unborn. and this cells they mentioned are harvested from adults. whats ur point exactly

  • hazel.ellis.399 - 2012-06-08 13:54

    on the brighter side, as a living donor of a kidney and having seen my brother endure years of dialysis and agony, I applaud the research wish them well on their way to many medical advances.

      Anthea - 2012-06-09 15:15

      Hazel and her brother know exactly why this sort of scientific breakthrough is so important. Because organ failure is not always that person's fault and everyone deserves a second chance.I wish your brother(and you) a long and healthy life.

  • gdowier - 2012-06-09 08:52


  • acsteyn - 2012-06-09 16:35

    This ground breaking. I wish then every success. So many people can be helped.

  • boitumelo.moleleki - 2012-06-09 19:56

    Planted into a mouse's brain?That poor animal,how could they do that!

  • siyanda.myende - 2012-06-10 13:03

    I'll drink to that

  • Phae - 2012-06-10 13:34

    Yay! Great news for medical science, and mans search to understand how things work. Hope there's lots more organs where this came from so the poor can also afford to stay alive.

  • Bafana - 2012-06-13 09:56

    this is so refreshing. Human quest at its best. Tired of whingeing racists comments in this column. To God be the glory.

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