Using human blood cells, Brazilian researchers have succeeded in obtaining hepatic organoids (“mini-livers”) that perform all of the liver’s typical functions, such as producing vital proteins, storing vitamins, and secreting bile, among many others. The innovation permits the production of hepatic tissue in the laboratory in only 90 days and may in the future become an alternative to organ transplantation.
This study combined bioengineering techniques, such as cell reprogramming and the cultivation of pluripotent stem cells, with 3D bioprinting. The tissue produced by the bioprinter maintained hepatic functions for longer than reported by other groups in previous studies.
According to the researchers, the complete process from collection of the patient’s blood to functional tissue production takes approximately 90 days.
In this study, researchers developed mini-livers using blood cells from three volunteers as raw material and compared markers relating to functionality, such as the maintenance of cell contact and protein production and release.
The liver is responsible for many metabolic, endocrine and exocrine functions. Approximately 2 million deaths per year are associated with liver failure.
Although the study was limited to producing miniature livers, the technique can be used in the future to produce complete organs suitable for transplantation.
News Source: FAPESP