Newcastle University scientists in England are heralding a great success for them with the creation of new artificial liver in a bottle. The ‘mini-liver’ is currently only the size of a small coin and was created using stem cells from the blood of the umbilical cord of newborn babies. The artificial liver has the potential for being used to test new drugs and someday the scientists hope that they will be able to use the same technique to create a full sized organ that can be used for an organ transplant. Scientists are optimistic that this technique will be available within fifteen years. Within five years they hope to be able to repair damaged organs with tissue from artificial organs.

The scientists at Newcastle are hoping that within two years they will be able to use the artificial tissue to test drugs. The current process has them testing the drugs in test tubes first before moving onto animal experiments and finally onto humans. With the ability to test on artificial tissue, the need to test on animals would be eliminated. But the scientists have even bolder ideas for the future which they hope will catch on such as the storage of blood from all newborn babies in banks around the world. With such ‘stem cell banks’ in place, millions of different tissue types could be catalogued for use by the public if they fell ill and a donor could not be found. There are already around a dozen banks dedicated to this around the UK and over 11,000 parents have decided to have their baby’s stem cells frozen and stored at these banks.

“One hundred million children are born around the world every year – that is 100 million different tissue types. With that number of children being born every year, we should be able to find a tissue for me and you and every other person who doesn’t have stem cells banked,” said Professor Colin McGuckin, professor of regenerative medicine at Newcastle University.

British scientists grow human liver in a laboratory (Daily Mail)

Be Sociable, Share!