Courtesy of Royal Free Hospital, University College London, London, UK (Mazza G et al., Sci Rep 2015;5:13079)

The EASL Foundation is proud to announce a most innovative program aiming at pursuing the dream of creating a ‘bioartificial liver’.

There are presently hundreds thousands of people on the organ wait list, many of whom will die before finding a compatible donor. Even those fortunate enough to receive an organ in time face ongoing medical difficulties, often for the rest of their lives.

Recent technical achievements in stem cell research, tissue engineering and whole organ regeneration and preservation offer potentially powerful solutions to this health crisis. Regenerative medicine is advancing towards the final frontier, i.e. the fabrication of vital organs to definitively solve the organ donor shortage.

However, tissue engineering research and regenerative medicine research is currently underfunded, receiving less than $500 million annually in the U.S. compared to $5 billion for cancer and $2.8 billion for HIV/AIDS. Two foundations in USA are tackling this lack of incentive towards the development of functional and vascularized organs including the liver (https://www.neworgan.org/)

The aim of the EASL Foundation program is to accelerate the academic research in Europe to address key challenges in this field in order to solve the remaining problems to bring this life saving technology to all of the people who desperately need it.

The first human liver scaffold obtained from a donor liver unsuitable for transplantation. This is a key step for providing the 3D structure to be repopulated with human cells and rebuilding a whole functional human liver.