Stem Cell Research

Scientists Grow Human Liver in Laboratory

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…and there was much rejoicing.

British scientists have grown the world's first artificial liver from stem cells in a breakthrough that will one day provide entire organs for transplant.

The technique that created the 'mini-liver', currently the size of a one pence piece, will be developed to create a full-size functioning liver….

The mini organ can be used to test new drugs…. Using lab-grown liver tissue would also reduce the number of animal experiments.

Within five years, pieces of artificial tissue could be used to repair livers damaged by injury, disease, alcohol abuse and paracetamol overdose.

And then, in just 15 years' time, entire liver transplants could take place using organs grown in a lab….

The liver tissue is created from stem cells—blank cells capable of developing into different types of tissue—found in blood from the umbilical cord.

More here.

Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey looked for to artifical livers (with onions, of course) here. And while you're at it, check out his great book, Liberation Biology, which makes "the scientific and moral case for the biotech revolution."

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  1. That’s awesome!

    I have some ideas for how my own work might have applications to tissue engineering, so this is pretty interesting to me.

  2. Excellent news…I can continue to drink heavily with the prospect that science will save me from myself!

  3. This is great news. I am assuming that the stem cells used were embryonic. Anyway, I hope this will help Rush Limbaugh and those of his ilk to fuck off a little more effectively.

  4. And in 15 years, Medicare plan ZZZ will cover the transplant procedure. Drink up now, folks!

  5. HUZZAH! Liver’s for everyone (who can get them by their own means without interference/assistance from the government)!

  6. Stevenotintheknow:

    Remember what happens when you assume…

    “Described as a ‘Eureka moment’ by the Newcastle University researchers, the tissue was created from blood taken from babies’ umbilical cords just a few minutes after birth.”

  7. Livers, some mornings I am quite stupid.

  8. oops..

  9. Does anyone know:

    Was this research government funded, or was it funded by the private sector?

  10. Would it still be cannibalism if someone developed a taste for human flesh that was grown in a lab?

  11. Was this research government funded, or was it funded by the private sector?

    Here’s a link to a full article. It doesn’t say, but given that the research was done at a British university, I’d guess it was publicly funded.

  12. Could you eat it with a nice GM chiati?

  13. I meant GM Chianti and maybe some fava beans.

  14. Does Britian even have a private sector?

  15. Does Britian even have a private sector?

    Dunno, but if they live longer and still kick a$$ at medical research, then maybe there are things the US could learn from their way of doing things.

  16. Dunno, but if they live longer and still kick a$$ at medical research, then maybe there are things the US could learn from their way of doing things.

    The difference in life expectancies is pretty small between the US (77.85) and the UK (78.54). Andorra (83.51) and Macau (82.19), on the other hand, must know something.

    And I’ll take our Nobel Prize winning scientists over any other nation’s. USA! USA! USA!

  17. You know where they should conduct this research in the USA? Charlottesville, VA. I understand they are big on medical research in that area. But mostly because they could change the state’s motto to “Virginia is for livers.”

  18. “Would it still be cannibalism if someone developed a taste for human flesh that was grown in a lab?”

    Here’s what I don’t get:

    If a person consumes another person’s liver by way of a transplant in order to stay alive, it’s ethical. But if a person consumes another person’s livere by way of the digestive system in order to stay alive, it’s a crime.

    So why the double-standard?

  19. Great. I knew this kind of science would bring out the cannibal apologists.

  20. I expect the anti-alcohol groups to be opposed to this, in the same way that anti-tobacco groups are opposed to any scientific advances that reduce the harm of tobacco (smokeless cigarettes, nicotine water, etc.)

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