Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Fixing the Liver

Lab grown bile ducts for repairing damaged livers

15 April 2021

Fixing the Liver

Right now, thousands of adults and children are on the waiting list for a liver transplant, and there is currently a serious shortage of donors. Around a third of adults and 70 per cent of children who need a new liver have incurable problems with their bile ducts – the network of tiny tubes that act as the liver’s waste disposal system. As an alternative to donor transplants, researchers are developing ways of growing bile ducts in the lab. Now they have succeeded. This image shows one of these lab-grown bile ducts, known as an organoid (‘mini-organ’), that has been grown using a system that's usually used to maintain donor organs outside the body. Importantly, these organoids can also be used to repair damaged human livers. Not only could this approach bring an alternative for people waiting for a new liver, but it could be applied to other organs too.

Written by Kat Arney

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.