Scientists Grow Human Liver From Stem Cells

As scientists grow a human liver from stem cells, some may wonder what implications this might have for the future of their health.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, it's believed that stem cells could help regrow toes and fingers.

Stem cells also restored the vision to a blind man who suffered from the degeneration of his retinal cells.This medical cure used human embryonic stem cells with a method that does not harm or kill embryos, leaving them intact. Such medical marvels rely on pluripotent cells.

"Pluripotent" essentially means that a cell has the potential to become any other type of cell in the body.

In similar fashion, the approach the scientists who grew the human liver used relied on induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells. Since most adult stem cells are limited in what forms they can take, scientists figured out a way to rewind cells from their final state back to a form that can be used for medical research.

Dusko Illic, a stem cell expert at King's College London, says the fact that Japanese scientists could grow a human liver from stem cells is "very promising":

"The promise of an off-the-shelf liver seems much closer than one could hope even a year ago. [But] there is much unknown and it will take years before it could be applied in regenerative medicine."

Using these iPS stem cells in a lab dish the scientists grew what they called a "liver bud" which then matures into full functionality. When they transplanted these liver buds into mice, the human blood vessels connected to the mouse's blood vessels and functioned like a normal liver.

What do you think about these scientists growing human livers from stem cells?