Tonsils to Repair Liver

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Did you have your tonsils removed as a child? If this happened in the XXI century, they could be used for the benefit of a diseased liver.

If the liver is damaged badly, the only way to cure it is to do a full or partial organ transplant. There are never enough donors for various reasons. Therefore, scientists from South Korea tried to grow liver tissue using stem cells from the tonsils.

Why tonsils and not the bone marrow have become a source of stem cells? Bone marrow tissue, as well as liver tissue, is difficult to obtain, and tonsils are worthless material that is not used after the removal.

Researchers have isolated mesenchymal stem cells from tonsils and put them into a polymer gel. They added differentiation factors – substances that cause stem cells and their descendants convert into more specific cell types and tissues (in this case, hepatocytes – liver cells). At body temperature, the conversion of stem cells into hepatocytes passed successfully, and the gel was biodegradable.

It is possible that future patients with severe liver disease will be cured with such gel, without waiting for tissue transplantation. Moreover, such procedures need no general anesthesia.

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