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Lab Reports
January 2, 2008

Model Liver

JAMA. 2008;299(1):29. doi:10.1001/jama.2007.32

A new laboratory model developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge mimics the human liver and could be useful for screening new drugs that are potentially harmful to this organ (Khetani SR and Bhatia SN. Nat Biotechnol. doi:10.1038/nbt1361 [published online ahead of print on November 18, 2007]).

Unlike conventional cell culture, which disperses tissues into single cells, this model uses microscale tissue subunits that maintain liver functions for several weeks. The technology arranges human liver cells into tiny colonies only 500 μm in diameter.