It might come as a shock, but scientists from California-based medical research company Organvo managed to create the world’s smallest working human liver and contain it alive in a lab for 40 days. The liver itself was half a millimeter deep and four millimeters wide. And unlike its prequel, this one lasted longer than five days.
The liver consisted of 20 layers of hepatocytes cells, which were performing common liver functions, and two other types of liver cells. The printer also created additional cells from the lining of a blood vessel. Thus, the liver cells were able to receive oxygen and nutrients. Usually the human liver cells last for 300 to 500 days. However, this one lasted only 40 days, which makes transplants out of the question for now.
The scientists are hoping they can develop the liver to a stage where transplant will be possible for the 120,000 people who are waiting for a new liver.