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Comments on World's First Artificial Human Liver Grown In Lab
The creation of 'mini-livers' from stem cells may be in time to avoid the dangers of too much demand in the organ transplant field. (Read the complete story)

"Fascinating! The history and connection to science fiction themes is a nice addition to the story. But I'm not sure I agree with the label "artifical human liver" - I believe an artificial liver would be made of something like plastic - not real human tissue. In my opinion, this is a *real* human liver grown in a lab."
(Michael 11/1/2006 11:20:35 AM)
"Michael - You're right; I had trouble titling this story. To add an extra layer, there are also "artificial livers" that are now in actual use that are implantable in the body. They consist of human liver cells that are grown outside the body and are used in the same way that you would use an aquarium filter. Blood comes in one side in a plastic tube, is 'filtered', and then passes out the other side. The downside is that the device is not an 'organ' - it only works for about ten days.
The 'mini-liver', on the other hand, supposedly has some of the actual three-dimensional structure and differentiation of a real liver; it is not just a layer of cells. And what would you call it if someone saved your cord blood, researchers cultured a liver from the stem cells recovered from that blood, and grew a liver that was indistinguishable from your own tissue. What would you call it? 'My liver!'"
(Bill Christensen 11/1/2006 2:35:59 PM)

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