Scientists Create Liver From Stem Cells

Created: 2013-07-04 20:15 EST

Category: World > Asia Pacific

Japanese scientists have created a functional human liver from stem cells.

The development was originally submitted to the international weekly journal, Science Nature, last April and published on Wednesday. 

The team of Japanese researchers say they have grown a tiny human liver, only five millimetres long, from reprogrammed human skin cells.

[Professor Hideki Taniguchi, Yokohama University School of Medicine]:

"We're looking to make cells from iPS stem cells, in particular liver cells. But we're not trying to just make cells, we're looking to mix multiple types of cells in order to make an actual liver. From that actual organ, we then hope to take cells or use it as an organ. We hope to completely change the way of thinking about this." 

The researchers say they were amazed when their cocktail of cells began forming into a three-dimensional lump which they say represents an early stage of liver development.