Growing your own mini liver: Melbourne scientists developing groundbreaking procedure
Melbourne scientists are developing a groundbreaking new way of growing mini livers on patients’ legs that can be transplanted to replace their own diseased organs.
The research, led by the St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, involves collecting stem cells from patients, and using them to grow a mini liver in a laboratory dish.
The method could save many of the 7000 Australians who die from chronic liver disease each year.
Scientist at St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, Dr Kiryu Yap, says the “real innovation here is the ability to be able to generate large amounts of liver tissue connected to blood vessels in the body”.
“Essentially we’re doing liver transplant surgery, but we’re not using donor tissue, we’re actually using stem cell tissue, so your own liver,” he said.
Human liver tissue has been successfully grown in the groin of mice and rats.
Lab trials are currently underway to assess how effective and how safe the innovative process is.
“Once we get those results we’ll be looking at starting clinical trials, but that’s still a long way off, that’ll be within 10 to 15 years probably,” Dr Yap said.
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