Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mechanical engineering helps research into the liver

26.01.2004


Artificial glass livers being developed at the University of Leeds could help those suffering from liver failure, and improve understanding of how the organ works, researchers believe.



Dr Peter Walker of mechanical engineering is leading Leeds’ contribution to a three-year £320,000 project that aims to replicate the geometry of the liver, using glass and liver cells.

“The liver is a very complex organ, which we still don’t fully understand,” said Dr Walker. “If we can mimic closely how it’s constructed and how the cells function within it, we should ensure an effective ‘replacement’. It may also provide an alternative to animal testing for hepatic drugs and bring us one step closer to being able to engineer liver tissue.”


The artificial liver – to be used like a dialysis machine – will be constructed of tiny hexagonal glass plates with channels running from their edges to the centre.

Glass is the ideal substance for etching the channels – less than 1/200 of a millimetre wide – which are lined with liver cells which reproduce the cleaning work of the organ.

The blood flows to the edge of each hexagon and down the channels, cleaned by cells as it goes, before exiting through a central ‘vein’. The liver is the only organ in the body where blood from veins and arteries is mixed together.

The arterial blood, fresh from the lungs, provides the cells with the oxygen they need to function, while venal blood contains the impurities for the liver to clean out.

A major problem with artificial livers is that as the blood runs through, it loses too much oxygen, so cells at the end of the line are no longer effective. “Reproducing the exact layout of the liver should overcome this problem, as cells will behave as they do in the natural liver, performing different cleaning functions dependent on their position and the level of oxygen they receive,” said Dr Walker.

He is creating computer simulations to model the liver, so optimum channel size, flow rate and density of cells can be calculated as accurately as possible, before the artificial liver is constructed in the laboratory.

The project, funded for three years by the EPSRC, is in collaboration with the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire – which is etching the glass plates – and the University of Nottingham.

Vanessa Bridge | alfa
Further information:
http://reporter.leeds.ac.uk/495/s9.htm

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution
09.12.2016 | Veterans Affairs Research Communications

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>