Feel free to have that extra shot of whiskey, your liver’s got a backup plan. Scientists in Japan have grown a working liver from stem cells.
Okay, it’s probably not advised to beat your liver up with alcohol, but the new medical breakthrough might be able to combat a number of medical ailments. Japanese scientists at Yokohama City University announced for the first time ever a working human liver of from stem cells had been created.
The liver was gradually grown over the course of two months with induced pluripotent stem cells altered to function as liver cells in the early development of a liver. The cells where then transplanted into mice where they began to develop into the early stages of a human liver. Yes, the day of the organ donation could come to an end with your next organ originating from a mouse. Take a second to wrap your head around that!
Growing a liver is one thing, but if it doesn’t work what good is it? To confirm that the new livers were up to par, scientists gave the mice high blood pressure and anti-inflammatory drugs that humans break down differently than mice. Instead of being broken down like a mouse liver might, the drugs were processed just as a human liver would.
Stem cell organs probably won’t be the norm in the incredibly near future, but the discovery is a milestone for science. Scientists said the next step would be trying the cells in a human subject with a damaged liver.