Promising results from Japanese research into creating three-dimensional body parts.

With a shortage of organ donors when it comes to treating end-stage organ failure, scientists have been in search of a way to produce organs using human stem cells. Researchers in Japan have recently had great success creating tiny human livers, similar to those present in early fetal life.

Afte being transplanted into mice, the livers continued to grow, produce human proteins and metabolise drugs, tasks that a fully-functioning would also be capable of carrying out.

Researchers caution that the research is still in the very early stages, and unlikely to reach a point where the “liver buds” could be used to replace an entire organ. Instead they could be used to “patch up” a damaged liver, replacing about 30% of a normal human liver.

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