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Small human liver produced using iPS cells.

TOKYO, June 8 Kyodo

A team of researchers has produced a small human liver inside a mouse using induced pluripotent stem cells, known as iPS cells which can grow into various human cells, the researchers said Friday.

The new technique could be applied to transplant organs to patients with liver failure and to develop new drugs, the researchers said.

Hideki Taniguchi, a professor at Yokohama City University who leads the team, said this is probably the first time a functional organ has been produced from iPS cells.

He also said there remain challenges, such as developing ways to cultivate a massive volume of iPS cells, as a large amount is necessary to produce an organ for transplantation.

The team will unveil their research results next Thursday during a session of the Japanese Society for Regenerative Medicine in Yokohama.

Previously, scientists doing research on growing iPS cells into human liver cells have had difficulties producing a human organ with a three-dimensional structure.

This time, Taniguchi's team transplanted specially processed iPS cells, 5 millimeters in diameter, into the head of a mouse. Two months later the team confirmed the organ began functioning similarly to a human liver, such as production of protein and decomposition of chemicals, the team said.
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Publication:Japan Science Scan
Date:Jun 11, 2012
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