Researchers in Japan coaxed human induced pluripotent stem cells into becoming a liver bud—an early structure that is seen when livers form—when they recreated cellular interactions that normally occur during bud development (Takebe T et al. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature12271 [published online July 3, 2013]).
The approach involved mixing hepatic progenitors derived from the stem cells with endothelial and mesenchymal cells. Staining and gene-expression analyses revealed a resemblance between the stem cell–derived buds and naturally occurring liver buds.
Hampton T. Researchers Use Human Stem Cells to Build a Functional Liver. JAMA. 2013;310(5):470. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.178396