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Medicine Science

Stem Cells Used To Grow Miniature Human Livers In Mice 59

ananyo writes "Transplanting tiny 'liver buds' constructed from human stem cells restores liver function in mice, researchers have found. Although preliminary, the results offer a potential path towards developing treatments for the thousands of patients awaiting liver transplants every year. The liver buds, approximately 4 mm across, staved off death in mice with liver failure, the researchers report this week in Nature (abstract.). The transplanted structures also took on a range of liver functions — secreting liver-specific proteins and producing human-specific metabolites. But perhaps most notably, these buds quickly hooked up with nearby blood vessels and continued to grow after transplantation."
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Stem Cells Used To Grow Miniature Human Livers In Mice

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Welcome our new mice overlords

  • but would it be cannibalism to eat them?

    • by slick7 ( 1703596 )

      but would it be cannibalism to eat them?

      Let me know when they grow calf's liver, with onions and bacon, with a side of mashers and gravy.

    • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Thursday July 04, 2013 @10:51PM (#44192101) Homepage

      Well... You eat your own cells all the time, and in practice you probably get a serving of other peoples' sloughed-off cells with every meal you have. I guess it's really more a matter of intent: If you're not getting the stuff from a human body (or arrange for the human to become "body" in the first place) then you may well decide this is not really cannibalism no matter what DNA the cells happen to contain. It comes from a mouse, so it's basically a mouse liver.

      Why you'd want to eat mouse livers is another question of course, though chicken liver is delicious, so why not?

    • Pst... it would still taste like meat.
    • With induced pluripotent stem cells, you could take fibroblasts from your arm, and culture them to make meat. Last I heard a few years ago, they had not gotten cultured muscle cells to organize into intact muscles, but I'm guessing you could make a hot dog of tissue derived from you. Would that be autocannibalism, and would said hot-self encased meat be kosher?
      • by lxs ( 131946 )

        I'd give my left arm to find out. If it isn't I'll eat my head, I mean hat.

      • would said hot-self encased meat be kosher?

        Considering that human meat is called long pig, I doubt it.

  • I guess it's 4th of July, but first time I read is as "Stem Cells Used To Grow Miniature Human Live In Mice".

  • by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Thursday July 04, 2013 @11:40PM (#44192251)
    As usual, any kind of clinical use of this stem cell stuff is "ten years away". These guys are as bad as fusion researchers.
    • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Friday July 05, 2013 @01:28AM (#44192549) Journal

      As usual, any kind of clinical use of this stem cell stuff is "ten years away". These guys are as bad as fusion researchers.

      I'm sure they'd love to try it in a human dying of liver disease. But between the FDA regs, the self-appointed Medical Ethics czars, and the malpractice ambulance-chasers there's a lot of hurdles to jump before they MIGHT be allowed to try it (let alone deploy it as a regular procedure).

  • "USED TO"??

    So, what are they doing now?

  • They just posted this a few months ago.

    Agent Smith-Oracle: Wait ... I've seen this. This is it, this is the liver bud one. Yes, you were laying right there, like that, I ... I ... I stand here, right here, the OP says something about drinking college students...I'm supposed to say something. I say ... 'This Bud's for you!'

    What ? What did I just say ? No... No, this isn't right, this can't be right. Get away from me!

  • Bring forth the Fava Beans and Chiante!

  • But Mrs. Garrison needs to know, can they be used to grow penises?
  • It seems obvious that the next step is to grow giant mice livers in humans!

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