NEWS

Australian Scientists Create 'Mini-Livers' To Combat Cancer

The tiny livers could help thousands of cancer sufferers.

12/08/2017 12:59 PM AEST | Updated 12/08/2017 1:43 PM AEST

Help for Aussies waiting for liver transplants could be on the way, with local scientists using human cells to grow "mini-livers" in a major scientific breakthrough.

The miniature livers are said to be grown from cells donated by cancer patients and are being used to test drugs and long term to treat disease.

NewsCorp Australia reports that the St Vincent's Hospital team have grown the livers that are so tiny they measure just a few millimetres in length.

According to NewsCorp, more than 7,000 Australians die of chronic liver disease each year, with that number set to rise over the coming years.

The health costs of treating liver disease in Australia is estimated at around $432 million each year.

Dr Geraldine Mitchell and Dr Kiryu Yap, the pair behind the "mini-livers", said creating human-sized organs was still some way off.

"While recreating an entire liver is an ambitious long-term goal, it is not currently feasible," Yap told NewsCorp.

"The first step is to create a small amount of liver tissue that could be used in patients with liver disease to replace one or two functions of the liver."

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