Scientists in Beijing, China, have successfully developed a liver tissue
which closely mimics the structure of the organ and could be useful in drug
testing and transplants in patients suffering from liver failure.
The microfluidics-based tissue that copies the liver's complex lobules, the organ's tiny structures was built from a liver and an aorta, the body's main artery.
In the lab, the engineered tissue had a metabolic rate that was closer to real-life levels than other liver models, and it successfully simulated how a real liver would react to various drug combinations.
Liver failure can be life-threatening and can require a transplant, a procedure that currently depends on human donors. Jinyi Wang and colleagues came up with the new approach to create a tissue rather than depending on organ donors.
The researchers conclude their approach could lead to the development of functional liver tissue for clinical applications and screening drugs for side effects and potentially harmful interactions.