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Diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are relieved,
Or not at all.

William Shakespeare Hamlet Act IV, Scene 3
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Liver Cell Transplantation
Liver transplantation (LTx) is the gold standard for treatment of end-stage liver diseases and liver-based metabolic disorders, but availability is restricted by the shortage of donor organs. Liver cell transplantation (LCT) was developed to enable treatment of multiple patients with cells obtained from one donor organ and to provide alternatives in cases with contraindications for major surgery, i.e., LTx. While initial clinical studies demonstrated the safety and efficacy of LCT, success remained limited since LCT could not achieve the outcomes required for it to be established as a standard medical treatment. As part of further clinical studies on improvement of LCT, strategies for non-invasive monitoring of transplanted cells are under investigation.
Decellularisation and Recellularisation
of the Liver

A new approach to overcome organ scarcity by in vitro generation of organoids is decellularisation and recellularisation of tissues or whole organs. This concept is based on the idea of composing biologic scaffolds by removing cellular and antigen-presenting components from tissues or organs, obtaining the organs’ extracellular matrix. The extracellular matrix represents the secreted products of resident cells and preserves the complex architecture and three-dimensional structure of the organ and thus generates a biomatrix ideally suited for reseeding with cells.
Hepatocyte Isolation & Culture
Some promising therapeutic approaches in Regenerative Medicine, namely extracorporeal liver support and liver cell transplantation, are based on the use of primary human liver cells in order to support or replace the liver function. Various studies have been directed towards the development of methods for the storage and the effective cryopreservation of primary human liver cells. The successful establishment of methods for the long-term storage of human hepatocytes would largely facilitate the therapeutic usage of the cells, considering the irregular availability of human liver tissue. Current cryopreservation techniques need to be optimized in order to establish suitable conditions for freezing, thawing and subsequent culture or transplantation of human hepatocytes.
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NeoHybrid Liver Graft
The neo-hybrid Liver Graft, an in vivo tissue engineered liver graft using autologous hepatocytes and hepatic progenitors cells, is a novel approach that might reduce the need for immunosuppression, improve long-term outcome after liver transplantation (LTx) and possibly induce host tolerance to allografts. Adult liver cells and autologous hepatic progenitors will be isolated from the diseased liver, explanted during standard orthotopic LTx, and retransplanted to the recipient via the spleen. The allogeneic liver graft is serving as a biological matrix for the engraftment of the autologous cells. Once these cells have engrafted, it is postulated that the autologous cells will repopulate the allogeneic graft liver as they have a selective advantage over the donor tissue due to their autologous origin.
Artificial and Bioartificial Liver Support
Liver failure remains a life-threatening syndrome. With the growing disparity between the number of suitable donor organs and patients waiting for transplantation, efforts have been made to optimize the allocation of organs, to find alternatives to cadaveric liver transplantation and to develop extracorporeal methods to support or replace the function of the failing organ. Over the past 20 years many liver support concepts have been developed and evaluated. Despite these efforts, none of the devices — neither, cell-based nor cell-free — were able to fully meet clinical demands. These limited results generate questions: Are the concepts evaluated inadequately? Are the concepts right but their scale too small and performances too low?
microRNA and the Liver
After liver surgery, the lost functional mass is replaced in a process of compensatory growth in which quiescent hepatocytes reenter the cell cycle. However, the regulation of liver regeneration is not completely understood. Recent reports indicate an essential role for small noncoding microRNAs (miRNAs) in the regulation of hepatic development, carcinogenesis, and early regeneration.
miRNAs are the most abundant class of small, endogenous noncoding RNAs. miRNAs inhibit protein synthesis by blocking translation via complementary binding of messenger RNA (mRNA) or by suppressing translation and the subsequent degradation of target mRNA. miRNAs act in a variety of cellular processes such as development, organ homeostasis, and cancer.
Latest News...
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    Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology invited us to provide a review on liver support strategies. The paper „Liver support strategies: cutting-edge technologies“ (authors: Benjamin Struecker, Nathanael Raschzok & Igor M. Sauer) is now available here.
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    The LOC would like to thank all participants for a tremendous 24th International Congress of The Transplantation Society in Berlin!
    Over 500 presentations are now available
    online.
    More information via
    www.transplantation2012.org !

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    The European Society for Artificial Organs (ESAO) invites you to the XLI Congress of the society to be held in Rome (Italy), September 17th-20th, 2014.The motto will be 'Patient happiness: The holy grail of organ substitution'.
    More information soon !
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    The paper entitled "Functionalizable silica-based micron-sized iron oxide particles for cellular Magnetic Resonance Imaging" is now available as Epub ahead of print.
We thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Fondation, DFG), the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF), the European Region Development Fund (EFRE) and the Fiebig-Stiftung for their financial support.
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