Most of you might have heard about alchemy right? So basically alchemy is a branch of chemistry, which involves transforming one object to another. It speaks of a philosopher stone which works as a catalyst in converting one object to another. Something like this happens here too with the spleen and liver.
Unfortunately, no such experiments were successful (for a moment though reminded me of Fullmetal alchemy). But nowadays scientists are able to do that. If you recall well then in 11th standard you might have studied about transmutation in which we clearly either naturally or artificially transform one atom to another one.
Similarly like that scientists from Nanjing University and the University of Macau depicted thorough the mouse that the spleen could be converted to liver.
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Now the typical question is about how was this made possible? Well if transmutation is possible then this is also a possible case. Scientists made this impossible a possible thing. Kudos to them cause according to an article about 41 patients out of 382 dies of liver implants. Not so good right?
For making impossible possible they didn’t rely on the alchemy process instead they used 3 different things “Tumor extract and autologous, allogeneic, or xenogeneic liver cells”. You may call this as a philosopher’s stone as it has the power to change a spleen itself.
A possible challenge to tissue engineering?
So we have heard about tissue engineering too in which a tissue is artificially made with the help of 3d printing technology. It is a recent technology coined started back in 1990s. There is also a limitation to this laboratory designed artificial organ and that is we can only develop simple tissue organs. Till now developing a complete tissue is not done.
This involves the orientation of veins and capillaries which is comparatively harder as compared to the simple tissues. So tissue transforming can be of a challenge to tissue engineering cuz they cannot develop liver in the laboratory.
The scientist from the institutes were able to do only because of the existence of the previous blood vessels. They managed to incorporate it in the place of the liver blood vessels. So finally spleen transformed inside a mouse in which the liver was surgically removed.
More and detailed information was published on June 10 in Science Advances, in an article titled, “Transforming the spleen into a liver-like organ in vivo.”
According to them transformation is a much more promising technique as compared to the tissue engineering because it helps to make the most of the existing organs, which has hard-to-replicate features such as highly developed vasculature, versatile stromal cells, complex extracellular matrix structure, and complete formed communication with the host body.
The scientists wrote, “We implanted autologous, allogeneic, or xenogeneic liver cells (either primary or immortalized), which survived and proliferated in the remodeled spleen, without exerting adverse responses.” Also to get the complete use of the transformed spleen they removed the 90% of the original spleen to check whether the modified organ has the ability to restore the original function to which they had positive results, further they suppressed the remaining portion of the spleen to which the mouse with transformed spleen survived and hence another success.
The scientist believes that this method is much better as compared to the tissue engineering which often leads to the mismatch and many other autoimmune diseases. One of the associate professor quoted, “No adverse responses were observed for as long as eight weeks, such as immune rejection or unwanted spreading of the transplanted cells.” -Chunming Wang, PhD
The scientist noted a tension which involves that the Blood vessels of the spleen were in slightly different fashion as compared to that of the liver. So, as a matter of fact, this may result in higher oxygen tension, or pressure from oxygen dissolved in the blood. They will further research on this matter if this would leave an impact on the transformed spleen cells.
They do recommend that this can be further carried on higher animals with evaluations to avoid any complications in both efficacy and clinical trials. Nevertheless scientists confirms with confidence that this could be of a great help to those who are really in need and, ultimately, will help to regenerate large organs on their demand.