Tissue engineers continue to improve the quality of their creations. The liver is one of the easier organs to work with, given the much greater regenerative capacity of liver cells. It is, nonetheless, an organ with a complex small-scale internal structure, and getting that right is a process of incremental advances. The tissues created via present state of the art approaches are usually still small, lacking the capillary networks needed to support tissue larger than a few millimeters in depth. The only way to provide those networks is to use decellularized donor organs, the cells destroyed, and the organ thus reduced to the scaffold of the extracellular matrix, complete with blood vessels and chemical cues. If the starting point is a cell sample without such a scaffold, blood vessels remain a challenge. By the time that challenge is reliably solved, however, it seems likely that the research community will be ready to build fairly accurate replicas of at least a couple of different real organs, even without donor tissue to provide a scaffold.
The creation of living mini-organs is a relatively new area of science with the potential to replace animal models
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