Brona McVittie reports :: October 2006

Scientists at Newcastle University have grown mini livers from umbilical cord stem cells in zero gravity conditions. Their bioreactor, provided by NASA, appears to provide ideal conditions for stem cell proliferation. Former research efforts have often been hampered by a paucity of cells, but in the absence of gravity cells can divide more easily. The mini livers generated from embryonic-like stem cells from umbilical cord provide exciting prospects for the drug development industry. If such space-age livers take off, the need for human and animal testing will be reduced.