Large scale production of human hepatocytes

Acute and chronic liver failure as well as metabolic liver disease are life threatening diseases for which today whole liver transplantation is the only curative treatment. Primary human liver cells are recognized as a promising alternative treatment. Cell therapies based on delivering human hepatocytes can be safer, less invasive and cheaper treatments for serious liver diseases compared to organ transplantation. Unfortunately further development and wider application of this new treatment option is hampered by suboptimal culture and storage condition and these precious cells cannot be fully used when they become available from donation. At the same time organ shortage is a well-know and global problem.

In the present project, we aim at achieving new culture methods to improve the access and quality of human primary cells for clinical transplantation and for research or drug development. Our allied groups, CETEG (Veronique Chotteau, Cell Technology, KTH), Liver Cell Lab (Assoc. Prof. Ewa Ellis, Karolinska Institutet) and Transplantation Surgery (Carl Jorns, MD, PhD, Karolinska University Hospital), will develop methods to address these issues. We will investigate different methods to culture the cells as spheroids or attached to macroporous microcarriers in collaboration with Percell. With Belach Bioteknik, we will define which bioreactor system is most favorable and study the optimal conditions of cell maintenance and proliferation to finally provide a new large-scale bioreactor culture system for long-term maintenance and proliferation of human hepatocytes. We expect that our findings will significantly improve the availability, quality and applicability of human liver cells for clinical transplantation as well as for research and drug development.


Project Leader: Veronique Chotteau

Active from CETEG: Martin Dulac (Post-doc)

Funding: VINNOVA and industrial partners

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