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Success for lab-grown bile ducts

Wednesday July 5th, 2017

A new method of growing and transplanting artificial bile ducts could be developed into an alternative treatment for liver disease, say British researchers.

Professor Ludovic Vallier, of the Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, Cambridge, UK, and colleagues created three-dimensional structures using transplanted healthy bile duct cells and tissue engineering technology, which developed into functional bile ducts in tests on mice.

This approach could prevent the need for a liver transplant, report the researchers in yesterday's (3 July) Nature Medicine.

They write: "Here we report a novel method for the isolation and propagation of human cholangiocytes from the extrahepatic biliary tree and we explore the potential of bioengineered biliary tissue consisting of these extrahepatic cholangiocyte organoids and biodegradable scaffolds for transplantation and biliary reconstruction in vivo."

Professor Vallier says: "Our work has the potential to transform the treatment of bile duct disorders. At the moment, our only option is liver transplantation, so we are limited by the availability of healthy organs for transplantation.

"In future, we believe it will be possible to generate large quantities of bioengineered tissue that could replace diseased bile ducts and provide a powerful new therapeutic option without this reliance on organ transplants."

"This demonstrates the power of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine," added researcher Dr Fotios Sampaziotis. "These artificial bile ducts will not only be useful for transplanting, but could also be used to model other diseases of the bile duct and potentially develop and test new drug treatments."

Sampaziotis, F. et al. Reconstruction of the murine extrahepatic biliary tree using primary extrahepatic cholangiocyte organoids. Nature Medicine 3 July 2017; doi: 10.1038/nm.4360

Tags: Transplant | UK News

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