PI: Eric Lagasse

Title: A New Molecular Mechanism to Bioengineering a Liver

Description: Hepatocyte transplantation has many potential applications. Extensive animal experiments have shown that hepatocytes transplanted in the liver or at ectopic sites survive, function, and actively participate in the regenerative process. However, our understanding of hepatocyte engraftment and their remarkable proliferative and regenerative potential is limited, even if primary hepatocyte transplantation is at the doorstep of applications in the treatment of inherited and acquired human diseases. We previously made a serendipitous observation that normal hepatocytes transplanted in the peritoneal cavity of an animal with lethal liver disease migrate into the lymphatic system and engineer ectopic liver-like organoids that rescue an animal model from a fatal metabolic disorder. How hepatocytes enter the lymphatics and what molecular mechanism is responsible for the generation of ectopic mass is not known. We hypothesized that hepatocytes must borrow some of the molecular mechanism lymphocytes use to migrate into the lymphatics. Our interest will be to study ectopic cell transplantation and our central objective of our application is to translate a highly interesting observation, the generation of ectopic liver, to a potential clinical application for patients with liver diseases.

Source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Amount: $419,339/year

Term: 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2023