Vascularized engineered human liver tissue that has self-organized into a lobule-like microstructure. (credit: Chelsea Fortin/Bhatia Lab/Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research)
Being able to grow your own new organs may be in reach—with some cellular assembly required.
With a carefully constructed clump of cells, mice grew their own functional human liver organoids in a matter of months, researchers report this week in Science Translational Medicine.

The cellular organ seeds blossomed in the rodents, expanding 50-fold in that time.

They appeared to form complex liver structures, tap into vasculature, and carry out the functions of a normal liver.

The critical factor in getting the organoids to take root, the authors report, was having the seed cells arranged just right.
Though the organ seeds are far from any clinical application, researchers are hopeful that they’ll one day be able to engineer larger liver organs to treat patients with liver failure or damage.
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