Expanding Human Primary Liver Tissues into Functional Organoids


Invention Summary:

Chronic liver diseases account for approximately two million deaths per year- one million due to complications of cirrhosis and one million due to viral hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Unfortunately, there are few treatment options for these conditions, and they commonly require organ transplants. The primary reason for the lack of therapeutics is that research models of human liver disease do not accurately mimic the disease state. 

Researchers at Rutgers have developed a 3D organoid that accurately mimics liver cell phenotype, function, and metabolism of the adult human liver. Optimal growing conditions of adult human primary liver cells in hepatic organoid cultures using combinations of growth factors and small molecules were devised. By limiting TGFb inhibition and incorporating Forskolin and Oncostatin M, the group demonstrated the extended expansion of primary liver cells from adult donors into functional organoids secreting albumin and displaying metabolic competence. The system can help researchers and drug companies use and expand primary human liver cells to assess drug metabolism and liver functions.

Market Applications:

  • Life science tools
  • Drug screening
  • Disease research for diabetes, metabolic disease, cancers, and other chronic conditions.


  • Accurately simulates human liver function compared to existing platforms.
  • New system for human liver metabolic assays
  • Potential to lead to new diagnostics and therapeutics for Diabetes, liver diseases and metabolic conditions.

Intellectual Property & Development Status: 

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration. Please contact marketingbd@research.rutgers.edu 

Online Publication: https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4409/10/12/3280

Patent Information:
Shemaila Sultana
Assistant Director
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Drug Discovery/Screening