Solving Organ Shortage Announces Research Goals to Regenerate or Bioengineer a Liver

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The SOS Whole Liver Research Community adopts Phase One Strategic Research Goals to focus the field on foundation-laying projects aimed at regenerating or bioengineering livers for transplantation.

“SOS hopes to advance the science by funding proposals addressing these strategic goals.” -- Dr. Ronald G. Landes, President SOS

Solving Organ Shortage announced today its Whole Liver Research Community, an international contingent of academic investigators and clinicians, has adopted Phase One Strategic Research Goals – four foundation-laying initiatives designed to support early efforts to develop protocols and therapies aimed at regenerating failing livers or engineering replacement organs for use in human transplantation.

Click here to view Phase One Strategic Research Goals.

“This is the first concerted effort by investigators in the field to develop a research plan to speed overall progress,” said Dr. Ronald Landes, president of SOS, a global nonprofit organizing a science-driven effort to solve the organ shortage by funding high-impact research initiatives. “SOS hopes to advance the science by funding proposals addressing these strategic goals.”

Currently, only 38 percent of the roughly 16,000 patients waitlisted for a donor liver in the U.S. will actually receive a transplant, and the shortage is predicted to escalate. A recently published epidemiology model projects demand for liver transplantation will increase roughly 25 percent over the next 20 years, driven largely by a surge of fatty liver disease linked to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. NASH (inflammation of a fatty liver leading to cirrhosis) was up 170 percent in 2013, and is rapidly becoming a primary cause of liver transplants in the U.S. Unfortunately, the prevalence of fatty livers in the general population also negatively impacts the viability of donor organs, further constraining the number organs available for transplantation.

“SOS convenes transplant specialists and top researchers from multiple disciplines to exchange information and foster collaborations to reach strategic research goals,” said Dr. Landes. To date, SOS has formed three organ-specific research communities – liver, lung and kidney – and plans to form a community focused on the heart in 2016.

Click here to see SOS progress to date.

According to Dr. Landes, scientists within the Whole Liver Research Community are exploring a variety of novel approaches to ameliorate the critical organ shortage, including the transplantation of healthy liver cells into failing organs, rebooting genes to express proteins that repair damaged liver cells, growing ectopic (off-site) livers in lymph nodes to assist native liver function, producing humanized livers in large animals, and bioengineering replacement livers using induced pluripotent stem cells to repopulate a decellularized liver scaffold. While promising, all of these efforts are in early-stage development and will need further study before they are ready for clinical trials.

About Solving Organ Shortage

SOS is a global nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance a novel, science-driven effort to regenerate or engineer replacement organs for transplantation by funding strategic, high-impact research initiatives. SOS State-of-the-Science Summits convene the world’s top clinicians and academic investigators in solid organ biology, regeneration and bioengineering to foster transdisciplinary collaborations on strategic research goals. SOS adds its energies to the broad-based constituency of organizations already working to ensure life-saving organs are readily available. For the latest SOS news and information please visit or follow us on Twitter.

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Cassie Pinkerton
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