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Alternative methods

14 - 02 - 2018

A new mini-human liver model brings us closer to the creation of in vitro grafts

An institute specializing in regenerative medicine, the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, has developed a new model of organoid liver that is close to the human liver.
 
The creation of mini-organs or organoids from human cells is a recent field in development. It allows for the creation of more predictive in vitro models than simple cell cultures and uses human cells instead of animals.

 


 
Regarding the liver, so far the models created were mainly aimed at studying the toxicity of substances on liver cells in vitro.
 
Here researchers attempted to replicate the full development of a human liver, not just its final structure. As support, they used ferret livers from which they removed all the cells and on which they let develop fetal liver progenitor cells.
 
They found that hepatocytes (main liver cells) invade the structure and that bile ducts (essential for the elimination of bile) develop in the midst of hepatocytes exactly as they develop in a human liver.
 
This research is a success. This new model of liver organoid:
• - is a step towards the development of liver grafts created in vitro
• - will speed up research on the treatment of hereditary bile duct diseases.