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Hepatocytes-Like Microreactors for Liver Tissue Engineering

Project description

Cell mimicry for liver engineering as a replacement for a liver transplant

The global spread of obesity and type 2 diabetes has resulted in the prevalence of medical conditions such as the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that causes liver failure and requires liver transplantation. The EU-funded ArtHep project proposes tissue engineering for the assembly of hepatic-like tissue, consisting of biological and synthetic entities mimicking the structure elements and functions of the liver. The integrated biocatalytic subunits will slow down liver damage, and the micro-environment in the bioprinted tissue will facilitate the connection between the transplant and the liver. The project will provide the foundation to counterbalance the increasing demand for donor livers.


The global epidemics of obesity and diabetes type 2 lead to higher abundancy of medical conditions like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease causing an increase in liver failure and demand for liver transplants. The shortage of donor organs and the insufficient success in tissue engineering to ex vivo grow complex organs like the liver is a global medical challenge.

ArtHep targets the assembly of hepatic-like tissue, consisting of biological and synthetic entities, mimicking the core structure elements and key functions of the liver. ArtHep comprises an entirely new concept in liver regeneration with multi-angled core impact: i) cell mimics are expected to reduce the pressure to obtain donor cells, ii) the integrated biocatalytic subunits are destined to take over tasks of the damaged liver slowing down the progress of liver damage, and iii) the matching micro-environment in the bioprinted tissue is anticipated to facilitate the connection between the transplant and the liver.

Success criteria of ArtHep include engineering enzyme-mimics, which can perform core biocatalytic conversions similar to the liver, the assembly of biocatalytic active subunits and their encapsulation in cell-like carriers (microreactors), which have mechanical properties that match the liver tissue and that have a camouflaging coating to mimic the surface cues of liver tissue-relevant cells. Finally, matured bioprinted liver-lobules consisting of microreactors and live cells need to connect to liver tissue when transplanted into rats.

I am convinced that the ground-breaking research in ArtHep will contribute to the excellence of science in Europe while providing the game-changing foundation to counteract the ever increasing donor liver shortage. Further, consolidating my scientific efforts and moving them forward into unexplored dimensions in biomimicry for medical purposes, is a unique opportunity to advance my career.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 992 289,00
8000 Aarhus C

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Danmark Midtjylland Østjylland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 992 289,00

Beneficiaries (1)