Posted: 03rd December 2021
New SVI research to develop liver ‘organoids’ – mini-liver constructs that replicate the structure and function of human liver – has been highlighted in media reporting today.
Supported by a three-year grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council, this pre-clinical research aims to create the organoids from human adult-derived stem cells, assembling them in the lab and then transplanting them into the patient's groin to grow larger. The organoids could then be used as replacement liver tissue in conditions of liver disease.
Chronic liver disease affects more than six million Australians. For people with end-stage disease, the only available treatment option is liver transplant – which is limited by donor shortage and comes with the complications of life-long immunosuppression and risk of organ rejection.
“There is a critical need for new treatment options for liver disease,” says Dr Kiryu Yap, co-leader of the new research.
The liver organoids team is led by Dr Yap and Associate Professor Geraldine Mitchell in SVI’s O’Brien Institute Department, and supported by Professor Wayne Morrison. Kiryu and Geraldine have brought together a collaborative team of experts from St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, The Royal Children's Hospital, the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and University of Western Australia.
This research is also supported by O’Brien Foundation, Stafford Fox Medical Research Foundation, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne Research Endowment Fund, SVI Foundation, Bioplatforms Australia, The University of Melbourne Centre for Stem Cell Systems, and the ANZ Hepatic, Pancreatic & Biliary Association.
Reporting and interviews with Dr Yap have appeared this morning in the Herald Sun and on Channel 9, 3AW, FiveAA (Adelaide) and other news services.