Experimental Therapy Could Grow You Brand New Livers

LyGenesis cell solution containing hepatocytes in suspension.
Picture: Genesis

The experimental treatment for liver enlargement is facing its biggest test in humans yet. This week, the biotech company LyGenesis announced that it has begun phase two trials of its drug to grow small livers inside lymph nodes. If the treatment works as well as we hope, it could save the lives of many people with life-threatening liver disease who cannot find a cure.

The drug is called LYG-LIV-001. It comes from donated livers that would not be a match for anyone who would receive them. Some cells called hepatocytes are taken from these livers and suspended in a solution. Using minimally invasive surgery combined with endoscopic ultrasound, the cells are implanted into the recipient’s upper abdomen. From there, the lymph nodes are expected to act as “bioreactors” of life, which help the hepatocytes to grow and mature to become active, if ectopic (outside of its normal place in the body), liver tissue.

LyGenesis expects to win approval for LYG-LIV-001 as a treatment for end-stage liver disease, or ESLD, a severe form of chronic kidney disease. Although someone can have ESLD for years, it is estimated that about 2% of all deaths annually are caused by this condition. A liver transplant can be an effective treatment, but many people with this condition do not meet the criteria for receiving an organ and about 17% of people are on the waiting list for a new liver. die every year. Tuesday, LyGenesis report that the first ESLD patient of its phase II trial has now received LYG-LIV-001.

“This treatment could be an exciting clinical breakthrough in helping patients with ESLD grow new ectopic livers in their bodies,” LyGenesis CEO Michael Hufford said in a statement. If our study is successful and we receive FDA approval, our allogenic cell therapy will enable one liver to support many ESLD patients, which will help reduce the need for an organ instead of patients. “

It will take months for scientists to know whether the treatment actually helped this first patient. And the trial – enrolling 12 patients in total – is not expected to be completed until early 2026. But if the research continues to show promise, then the sky may be the limit. LyGenesis is also developing its bioreactor technology to grow other organs, including the kidney, thymus, and pancreas.

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