Repairing damaged donor livers course increase life-saving transplants
Bile ducts act as the liver’s waste disposal system, and malfunctioning bile ducts are responsible for a third of adult and 70 per cent of children’s liver transplantations.
Due to a shortage of livers, researchers needed to find alternative solutions and investigated whether they could repair the liver using cell-based therapies.
Using a perfusion system, researchers could show they could transplant biliary cells grown in the lab known as cholangiocytes organoids – in the bile duct that act as a barrier between the bile and other tissues – into damaged human livers to repair them.
In order to do this the researchers used a technique known as single-cell RNA sequencing to learn more about the individual cells lining the biliary tree. They found cells from the gallbladder could be converted into cells in the bile duct and could replace the damaged ones.
This is the first time a procedure of this kind has been used on human donor organs and could be useful for other organs.