Alan Faulkner-Jones, part of the Heriot-Watt team, with the new artificial liver cells. Picture: Colin Hattersley
SCOTTISH scientists are creating the world’s first artificial liver
tissue made from human cells, a technology they say has the potential to
both speed up and slash the cost of testing and producing new drugs.
Scotland on Sunday has learned that a team at
Heriot-Watt University is using the cells to build liver tissue which
will become a testing platform for drugs to treat a range of illnesses.
It is hoped that the development of artificial livers will reduce and
ultimately replace the need to test medicines on animals.
Shu, a lecturer in micro-engineering who is leading the research, said:
“The medical benefits could be enormous. Artificial human liver tissues
could be very valuable to drug development because they mimic more
closely the response of drugs on humans, helping to select safer and
more efficient drug candidates.”
With the human cells, the
Scottish scientists are working to create miniature human liver tissues
and have already developed a process known as “livers-on-a-chip” which
“prints” the cells in 3D onto testing surfaces....MORE