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 PET imaging tracks Zika virus infection, disease progression in mouse model
20.09.2017 | US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases

nachricht 'Exciting' discovery on path to develop new type of vaccine to treat global viruses
18.09.2017 | University of Southampton

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: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>