Scientists Grow Tiny Livers

Scientists in Japan have been growing itty-bitty functioning livers from stem cells, an advance they say could ultimately reverse liver failure. Transplantation of these “liver buds” in mice increased the life span of those with organ failure. Growing your own organs has been a trend in the science world, with bladders and, recently, windpipes leading the charge, but livers are particularly difficult to grow because of the complexity of their makeup. Cool, but as with most breakthroughs, real-world application is a while away. “Although the promise of an off-the-shelf liver seems much closer than one could hope even a year ago, the paper is only a proof of concept,” one scientist said. “There is much unknown.”