April 17, 2024 at 9:24 am

A Plan To Repurpose Lymph Node Tissue Into Functional Livers Reaches Human Trials

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

Listen, I have watched Grey’s Anatomy for all 79 seasons, you when I read a study like this one, I know for a fact that it’s definitely possible.

There are great minds out there working to fix all sorts of problems, and in this case, they’re looking for ways to grow functioning livers for transplantation.

Researchers have been working on this project for over a decade, hoping to put a stop to end-stage liver disease (ESLD), says co-founder and CEO of LyGenesis.

“In a medical first, we have now dosed our first patient in a clinical trial using their own lymph nodes as living bioreactors to regenerate an ectopic organ.”

Source: Shutterstock

The treatment takes main functioning cells from a donated liver (hepatocytes) and injects them into lymph nodes.

Once there, the liver cells grow and divide, developing blood vessels and hooking up with the circulatory system.

“Over time, that lymph node will disappear and what you’re left with is a miniature organ.”

The procedure has seen success in animal studies. All six pigs included in the study operated on developed mini livers and showed signs of recovery from liver failure.

12 people are set to see if the same holds true on human test subjects. All of them have end-stage liver disease.

Typically, a transplant would be the recommended course of treatment, but there are many factors that can exclude someone from being eligible.

Even if they are eligible, the waiting list is long – nearly 10,000 people long – and the waiting period can be up to five years.

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Around 12% of patients won’t live long enough to give transplant via organ donation a shot.

“If our study is successful and we obtain FDA approval, our allogeneic cell therapy could enable one donated liver to treat many dozens of ESLD patients, which could help to tilt the current organ supply-demand imbalance in favor of patients.”

We won’t know for a little while still whether or not the trial is successful, because researchers will track the patients over the course of a year.

Fingers crossed for the tens of thousands of people suffering from ESLD – hope could be right across the horizon.

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