This company is about to grow new organs in a person for the first time
Lagasse says the lymph nodes near the liver are close enough to receive the pain signals sent by chemicals from the dying tissue of the diseased liver. These signals are intended to encourage any remaining healthy liver tissue to regenerate, but this is not effective in severe cases. However, the signals seem to help the growth of liver tissue in nearby lymph nodes.
“It was unbelievable,” said Gouon-Evans. “There is this little incubator in the body [that can grow organs] That’s very wonderful. “
About five years ago, Lagasse, along with entrepreneur and drug developer Michael Hufford and transplant surgeon Paulo Fontes, founded LyGenesis to take this technology further. The team is exploring using lymph nodes to grow new thymus, kidneys, and pancreases.
But the company’s priority is liver. Over the past 10 years, team members have gathered promising evidence that they can use their approach to grow new small livers in mice, pigs and dogs. Small livers don’t grow indefinitely — the body has a regulator inside to stop liver growth at a certain time, that’s why healthy livers don’t overgrow. level when they regenerate.
Teams Research on mice with a genetic disorder of the liver has shown that most cells injected into a lymph node will stay there but some will migrate to the liver, as long as there is enough healthy liver tissue remaining. These migrating cells can help the remaining liver tissue regenerate and heal. When this happens, the new small liver in the lymph node shrinks, keeping the total amount of liver tissue in balance, says Lagasse.
Other studies have focused on pig and the dogs’ blood supply to the liver was diverted, causing the organ to die. Injecting hepatocytes into the animals’ lymph nodes would eventually rescue their liver function.
In pig researchFor example, the team first surgically diverted blood supply away from the liver in six animals. As the pigs recovered from the surgery, the team injected healthy liver cells into their lymph nodes. Doses ranged from 360 million cells injected through three lymph nodes to 1.8 billion cells per 18 lymph nodes.
Within a few months, all animals showed signs of recovery from liver injury. Tests showed that their liver function had improved. And when the team then performed autopsies on the animals, the new organs in the lymph nodes looked a lot like miniature healthy livers, each about 2% the size of a human. a normal adult liver. Other studies show that taking about three months of treatment has significant benefits.