Artificial liver and muscle tissue recovery - two renowned scientists in FNUSA-ICRC

A FNUSA ICRC lecture on October 25 hosted two renowned Italian scientists. Alberto Rainer has been working on the development of "artificial liver" for the most accurate research into its diseases. His team strives to accurately simulate the activity of the liver in order to be able fully explore its most common nonalcoholic metabolic disorder - steatosis, or incrassation. In case of this disease the liver tissue alters the normal biological processes and in the worst cases can turn into cirrhosis. 

Italian researchers have therefore created a three-dimensional (3D) platform with chip with the fluidic micro-structure which works well as the liver. Within this research scientists have cultured liver cells, which are to be subjected to the accumulation of fat-lipids. The advantage of this procedure compared to other tests (e.g. using animals) consists in a significant elimination of external influences.

His colleague Cesare Gargioli has been trying to create a functional artificial muscle, which could help in the treatment of very serious degenerative diseases. An international team of scientists has successfully grown the functional leg muscle in a laboratory dish, which can help to treat a large number of muscle diseases.

Earlier experiments with muscle transfer were unsuccessful because the body of the host / recipient did not create the necessary nerves and blood vessels for its oxygenation. The research team therefore developed cells mimicking the tibialis anterior muscle and then they genetically modified it so as to promote the growth of blood vessels and nerves from the host. The researchers hope that their results may lead to the treatment of various types of diseases, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), in which the irreversible muscle damage occurs. DMD is an inherited disease, now incurable. Handicapped people suffer from muscle fibres mortification, resulting in problems with movement. Gradually, also the muscles important for breathing, swallowing and other movements are affected by the degeneration. This hereditary disease also attacks the heart muscle.