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Generation of transplantable, vascularized liver buds from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells

Human vascularized liver buds grown in culture could be used to regenerate human livers and model liver disease. Liver endoderm cells generated from human iPS cells were co-cultured with human endothelial cells and mesenchymal stem cells to form vascularized liver buds. In mice, implanted liver buds integrated with the host vasculature, matured and performed human liver-specific metabolic reactions. In mice with chemically induced liver failure, transplanted liver buds prolonged survival compared with transplanted hepatocytes. Next steps include scaling up the process to establish larger tissue segments and testing functionality in larger animal models.

SciBX 6(31); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.843
Published online Aug. 15, 2013

Patent application filed; available for licensing through Yokohama City University

Takebe, T. et al. Nature; published online July 3, 2013;
Contact: Takanori Takebe, Yokohoma City University, Yokohama, Japan
Contact: Hideki Taniguchi, same affiliation as above