The liver's new bud
Yokohama City University and Sekisui Medical Co. Ltd. researchers have produced vascularized human liver tissue that displays promising metabolic and regenerative capacity in mice.1 The team now aims to scale up the procedure to generate bigger tissue segments and will test the treatment for liver failure in larger animals.
The human liver has the distinct capacity to regenerate itself. However, acute liver failure or chronic liver damage, which can stem from alcohol abuse, HBV or HCV, can reduce the amount of functional liver tissue to less than 10%-15% of the original functional liver mass.
Below that threshold, intrinsic regeneration does not occur.2 This point of no return, paired with the relative scarcity of transplantable livers, has spurred research into generating liver tissue de novo that does not rely on functional tissue remaining in patients.
Up to now, efforts to regenerate liver tissue have focused on two main strategies. One is the infusion of either autologous