Thursday, December 5, 2013

$1 million offered to first team to create a functional liver

Human liver
David Gobel of the Methuselah Foundation took the stage at the World Stem Cell Summit this morning to announce a new challenge prize offering $1 million to the first team that can build a liver that when transplanted into animals allows at least half of the four-legged patients to live for 90 days. But he said, “we are tired of mice, it has to be a rabbit or larger animal,” which will come closer to mimicking a human patient.

The challenge is open until 2018 and once it is met the foundation will announce subsequent prizes for other organs. For this round they have teamed up with Organovo, which will offer free 3-D printers to the three teams deemed to submit the best preliminary proposal for growing a liver. He said the judges will be concentrating in particular on how teams plan to grow the microscopic blood vessels that are key to a properly functioning liver.

Don Gibbons

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