Groundbreaking New Study Transforms Skin Cells Into Healthy Liver Cells

Skin cells have been transformed into human liver cells that are not only able to function within an organ, but do so inside another species and continue to operate in an animal with liver failure.
The capacity to cause easily available cells, such as those from skin, to transform into those of organs such as the pancreas, or even into neurons, has generated great hope and hype. Nevertheless what has been done is generally several steps short of being something that could be transplanted into a body when the old organ fails.
One of the necessary steps is to get cells to survive when transplanted into the body. A team from the Gladstone Institutes and the University of California San Francisco have announced success in this regard in Nature, turning skin cells into cells they describe as “virtually indistinguishable” from native liver cells.
Although the liver is the only human internal organ capable of regenerating itself, this capacity is not unlimited. Millions of people suffer liver damage from everything from too much alcohol or a paracetamol overdose to diseases such as hepatitis C. Livers for transplantation are in very short supply.

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