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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2013 Oct;24(5):893-9. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2013.05.008. Epub 2013 Jun 20.

Engineered liver for transplantation.

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Center for Engineering in Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston, 51 Blossom Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Orthotopic liver transplantation is the only definitive treatment for end stage liver failure and the shortage of donor organs severely limits the number of patients receiving transplants. Liver tissue engineering aims to address the donor liver shortage by creating functional tissue constructs to replace a damaged or failing liver. Despite decades of work, various bottoms-up, synthetic biomaterials approaches have failed to produce a functional construct suitable for transplantation. Recently, a new strategy has emerged using whole organ scaffolds as a vehicle for tissue engineering. This technique involves preparation of these organ scaffolds via perfusion decellularization with the resulting scaffold retaining the circulatory network of the native organ. This important phenomenon allows for the construct to be repopulated with cells and to be connected to the blood torrent upon transplantation. This opinion paper presents the current advances and discusses the challenges of creating fully functional transplantable liver grafts with this whole liver engineering approach.

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