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Lab-grown human liver model may help advance treatment

IANS  |  New York 

Scientists have developed the most sophisticated functional model of a human in the laboratory, an advance that can potentially help scientists improve treatment for diseases.

The organoids, made with human cells, are less than one-third inch in diameter. These will also help advance scientists understanding about bile duct formation.

"This model better mimics foetal development and function of the human liver," Shay Soker, at in North Carolina, US.

"We expect these organoids to advance our understanding of how -- -- start and progress so improved treatments can be developed," Soker added.

To make the organoids, scientists allowed foetal liver progenitor cells, an immature cell that is destined to become a specialised liver cell, to self-assemble on a small disc.

The discs are made of ferret liver that has been processed to remove all of the animal's cells. The resulting organoids, which assemble within two to three weeks, are the first to model actual human liver development.

In the research, reported in the journal Hepatology, the scientists showed that these organoids generated hepatocytes -- the main functional cells of the liver.

This achievement represents a milestone in work to create truly functional bioengineered liver tissue for into patients.

Moreover, the study also shows the stepwise maturation of bile ducts exactly as can be observed in the human foetal liver.

Bile ducts carry bile -- a fluid that is secreted by the liver and collected in the gallbladder to digest fats.

This can potentially be used to study the biliary atresia that occurs in infants.

"Altogether, the team has created a and that will help advance our understanding about bile duct formation," said Pedro Baptista, from the varsity.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 14 2018. 19:50 IST