Current Transplantation Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 119–126 | Cite as

Liver Bioengineering: Promise, Pitfalls, and Hurdles to Overcome

  • Aylin Acun
  • Ruben Oganesyan
  • Basak E. UygunEmail author
Cellular Transplants (G Orlando, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Cellular Transplants


Purpose of Review

In this review, we discuss the recent advancements in liver bioengineering and cell therapy and future advancements to improve the field towards clinical applications.

Recent Findings

3D printing, hydrogel-based tissue fabrication, and the use of native decellularized liver extracellular matrix as a scaffold are used to develop whole or partial liver substitutes. The current focus is on developing a functional liver graft through achieving a non-leaky endothelium and a fully constructed bile duct. Use of cell therapy as a treatment is less invasive and less costly compared to transplantation, however, lack of readily available cell sources with low or no immunogenicity and contradicting outcomes of clinical trials are yet to be overcome.


Liver bioengineering is advancing rapidly through the development of in vitro and in vivo tissue and organ models. Although there are major challenges to overcome, through optimization of the current methods and successful integration of induced pluripotent stem cells, the development of readily available, patient-specific liver substitutes can be achieved.


Liver Tissue engineering Decellularization Cell therapy Induced pluripotent stem cells 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Basak Uygun reports grants from National Institutes of Health (R01DK084053) and has a financial interest in Organ Solutions, LLC (reviewed and arranged by MGH and Partners HealthCare in accordance with their conflict of interest policies).

Aylin Acun and Ruben Oganesyan declare no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Engineering in Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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