The liver, the largest organ inside the human body, is capable of great feats of repair and regeneration while in its proper place. Outside the body, the organ has provided a challenge; it has proven exceedingly difficult for scientists to grow liver cells, called hepatocytes, and keep them alive. For the first time, scientists from Germany and Israel successfully cultivated hepatocytes in the laboratory, publishing their research Oct. 26, 2015, in the journal Nature Biotechnology. Though not a full-fledged organ (or even an organoid), this development holds promising implications for clinical study, with Yaakov Nahmias, director of the Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the study's lead author, describing it in a statement as "the holy grail of liver research.”
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Mindy Weisberger is an editor at Scholastic and a former Live Science channel editor and senior writer. She has reported on general science, covering climate change, paleontology, biology, and space. Mindy studied film at Columbia University; prior to Live Science she produced, wrote and directed media for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her videos about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity and evolution appear in museums and science centers worldwide, earning awards such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post and How It Works Magazine.