Launching a Satellite Liver: Tissue Engineering in Action


This image, submitted by Chelsea Fortin of the Bhatia Lab at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, shows vascularized engineered human liver tissue that has self-organized into lobule-like microstructure.


Chelsea Fortin, Kelly Stevens, Christopher Chen, Sangeeta Bhatia
Koch Institute at MIT and Boston University

The liver is known for its regenerative properties, but certain types of damage are irreversible. To combat the growing shortage of replacement organs, researchers have grown liver cells on a specially patterned matrix of blood vessels (green) and transplanted them into their disease model.

This image shows how, in response to damage in the original organ, the cells (orange) reorganize and expand, integrating blood (white) from the host to support their growth. The creation of such "satellite livers" could greatly improve outcomes for patients suffering from liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.