Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Biotech Science

Rudimentary Liver Grown In a Dish 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the tastes-like-chicken dept.
ananyo writes "Japanese scientists have coaxed stem cells into forming a 5-millimeter-long, three-dimensional tissue that the researchers labelled a liver bud — an early stage of liver development. The bud lacks bile ducts but has blood vessels, and when transplanted into a mouse, was able to metabolize some drugs that human livers metabolize but mouse livers normally cannot. The work is 'the first report demonstrating the creation of a human functional organ with vascular networks from pluripotent stem cells,' the team claims."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Rudimentary Liver Grown In a Dish

Comments Filter:
  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @01:23PM (#40387351) Journal

    Perhaps with a side of fava beans?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @01:24PM (#40387371)

    Burn in hell you cursed worshipers of Satan! This is solely the work of the Devil himself. This is evil at its darkest (until I need a liver transplant, at which time I will be more than happy to accept one).

    • Re:Burn in Hell! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Baloroth (2370816) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:01PM (#40387815)
      I know you are making a joke, but these stems cells were iPS (induced pluripotent), i.e. taken from adults, not embryos, and therefore not controversial by any stretch of the imagination or in any viewpoint I'm aware of. On the contrary, they show that you don't need embryonic stem cells to produce medical advances.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I get that, but what makes you think that some of these people will care about the details? Its like arguing with a brick wall sometimes. Evolution in schools? Brick wall. Politics? Brick wall.
        • Look in the mirror regarding brick walls.

        • One of the primary arguments made by those opposing embryonic stem-cell research is that the benefits can be obtained by induced pluripotent stem cells. This is especially common in discussions regarding government funding of stem-cell research. The argument is that resources should be redirected from embryonic stem-cell research to induced pluripotent stem-cell research. So, yes, they very much care about the details.
        • I think if you cared to do any research, you would find that "these people" tend to be much better informed about this sort of thing than the wider public.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yes. But remember that we only found out how to do this with adult cells by working with the embryonic ones, while in production adult cells may be easer resech on embryonic stem cells is still needed to improve our ability to make them reliably and with reduced cancer risk.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        and therefore not controversial by any stretch of the imagination or in any viewpoint

        Heathen. Playing God is controversial in any context!

      • Re:Burn in Hell! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:48PM (#40388551) Journal

        On the contrary, they show that you don't need embryonic stem cells to produce medical advances.

        No one ever argued that you need embryonic stem cells to produce medical advances. What people argue is that we don't really know the properties of embryonic stem cells, and there may be medical advances we can make with those that we cannot make adult stem cells. That a medical advance has been made with adult stem cells says nothing about what we could do with embryonic stem cells.

        The set of medical advances we can make with adult stem cells may be identical to the medical advances we can make with embryonic stem cells. On the other hand, they may just overlap. The only way we can know that we are not leaving major medical advances undiscovered is to do research on embryonic stem cells.

        Besides, all those embryonic stem cells are just going to the incinerator. It takes one sick, evil piece of shit to prefer incineration to the advancement science.

        • No one ever argued that you need embryonic stem cells to produce medical advances. What people argue is that we don't really know the properties of embryonic stem cells, and there may be medical advances we can make with those that we cannot make adult stem cells.

          Cute, but you're wrong.

          What people argue is "Stem cells." The difference is ignored so that huge raging political battles can be held over it, allowing politicians to slander each other with stupidity and create non-existent problems or overstate the terrible actions of their opponents. That helps keep us fighting by giving us one more difference (democrat vs republican, works even better than highlighting racial differences and the like through diversity education and legislation) so that the poor and

        • by Baloroth (2370816)

          Besides, all those embryonic stem cells are just going to the incinerator. It takes one sick, evil piece of shit to prefer incineration to the advancement science.

          The problem never really was with the cells that already existed (not the main problem, anyways). The problem was that if a discovery was made with them, there would be an incentive to create embryo "farms" to produce more. It's similar to how most people have no problem performing an autopsy, but will get somewhat annoyed if you start creating dead bodies to do so, and research that required embryonic stem cells would lead to that (the argument hinging on whether you believe that human embryos are human be

          • Re:Burn in Hell! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @03:54PM (#40389889) Journal

            The problem was that if a discovery was made with them, there would be an incentive to create embryo "farms" to produce more.

            So, prohibit the non-incidental production of embryonic stem cells. Banning the research is nothing more than deliberate ignorance.

            It's similar to how most people have no problem performing an autopsy, but will get somewhat annoyed if you start creating dead bodies to do so

            Which is why we have laws prohibiting people from doing anatomy on cadavers. Oh wait, we don't.

          • by Jeng (926980)

            It's similar to how most people have no problem performing an autopsy, but will get somewhat annoyed if you start creating dead bodies to do so

            In the early days of modern medicine medical schools paid grave robbers to deliver them corpses and it was done illegally because it was against the law at the time, but they didn't go and kill people.

            there would be an incentive to create embryo "farms" to produce more

            How exactly would you farm embryos? Sounds like something that would be done with petri dishes. Doesn't sound all that sinister to me.

            • by wierd_w (1375923)

              This is not true.

              There were several notorious victorian murderers who specialized in killing prostitutes to provide corpses for universities and med schools.

              Nasty business.

              These days though, enough people leave their bodies to science thanks to a rise in secularism.

          • by wierd_w (1375923)

            While that would certainly be expedient, I can't see that ever happening outside of an untouchable govt program.

            Further complicating the issue for the bible bumbers, is that embyonic cells can be harvested without blast destruction. It is commonly used to test blast health prior to implantation in IVF.

            Regulations mandating nondestructive harvest only would solve both problems neatly.

            But they cling so deperately to "embryonic == murder!" That they can't see anything else, and see hobgoblins and the devil beh

        • Besides, all those embryonic stem cells are just going to the incinerator. It takes one sick, evil piece of shit to prefer incineration to the advancement science.

          Just a thought experiment to demonstrate how wrongheaded that is:
          If someone has instructed in their last will and testament that they wish to be cremated, do you think a scientist would be justified in stealing the body for experimentation? I mean, its destined for the incinerator anyways!

          You can argue about the ways in which that differs from the current point of discussion, but the point is that "scientific advancement" is not sufficient justification in all instances.

        • by LienRag (1787684)

          Besides, all those embryonic stem cells are just going to the incinerator. It takes one sick, evil piece of shit to prefer incineration to the advancement science.

          Actually, that could be a point made by Dr Mengele...

          On the opposite, Levi-Strauss stated that he'd rather grant humanity to a stone rather than risking denying it to a human.

          So are embryos closer to stones or to humans? I wouldn't daresay...

      • and therefore not controversial by any stretch of the imagination or in any viewpoint

        Dammit! Then we'll just have to make them controversial so that God can be on our side!

      • by Grayhand (2610049)

        I know you are making a joke, but these stems cells were iPS (induced pluripotent), i.e. taken from adults, not embryos, and therefore not controversial by any stretch of the imagination or in any viewpoint I'm aware of. On the contrary, they show that you don't need embryonic stem cells to produce medical advances.

        Not so quick! Can a liver bud one day grow up to be a full grown liver? Sacrificing baby livers in the name of science is offensive. One day they could grow up to be President of the United States!

    • I don't have any moral objections to them making a rudimentary liver. They can use as many stem cells from rudimentaries as they want. But if they start doing this to make a human liver though, there's going to be outrage!

  • Jackpot (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @01:27PM (#40387411)

    Now I can start drinking again.

  • W.C. Fields (Score:5, Funny)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @01:29PM (#40387439) Journal

    And now chronic drunks rejoice -- this bud's for you!

  • Tell me Are they using moose in experiments on live animals? I don't know if I should laugh of cry over this.
  • So much for worrying about liver failure in old age.
    • by jo_ham (604554)

      I think that's the way the human race will eventually go - once we can grow replacement organs from stem cells, we can just sub them in as we age as we all start living longer and longer. I think the only sticking point will be the brain, unless we work out how to rejuvenate it.

      • we can just sub them in as we age as we all start living longer and longer.

        Except for the whole scarring issue. As anyone who has to have knee replacements will tell you, there is a finite amount of time your knees can get replaced not because of the knee itself, but because of the scarring of the knee tissue.

        Granted, if you're only going to get one liver replacement (or spleen or kidney or whatever), then scarring isn't an issue.
        • by jo_ham (604554)

          You can reduce the scarring by inhibiting the body's healing response, but that only gets you so far. You also have problems with aseptic loosening when it comes to joint replacements, due to bone reclamation by the body.

          It's certainly not all figured out, but we are going to become more and more like hardware with replaceable parts as we age.

        • by mhajicek (1582795)
          They'll come up with ways to reduce the scarring too. We'll have multi-hundred year old wealthy people presiding over the slaves who die at 50 and can't afford any medical treatment. Although slaves might be the wrong word; there won't be any work for them to do except to try to scratch a living from the leftovers of the wealthy, who have their needs taken care of by robots.
  • Of course, there would still be the problem of getting the horse to drink...

  • Need bile ducts! (Score:5, Informative)

    by b_dover (773956) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @01:49PM (#40387685)
    Unfortunately, the bile ducts are an important part of what the liver does, i.e. produce bile, which we need to digest fats. Furthermore, bile is used to remove bilirubin, a was product of the liver tearing down red blood cells. An excess of bilirubin is what makes people with liver problems turn yellow. This does seem like a great step forward in growing organs however. The liver is one of the most complex organs in the body.
  • by igaborf (69869) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @01:59PM (#40387793)
    Now if they could just figure out how to grow onions. Yum! Liver and onions!
    • by steelfood (895457)

      Which brings up a good point: Does it count as cannibalism if you eat stem cell-grown human tissue?

  • Hannibal Lecter won't have to kill!!
  • Great book, read it :-).
  • by PPH (736903)

    An endless supply of compatible liver replacements is close!

    Lindsay Lohan is saved!

  • This and better guns is why I 3 science.

    Best news I've heard all year.

  • Just another excuse for my boss to keep drinking.
  • in the three years that have passed since this article was published... Published online 22 April 2009
  • If only they can grow brain cells, we'll have something to stave off the zombie apocalypse, sort of like "True Blood" for vampires.

A sheet of paper is an ink-lined plane. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

Working...