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OHSU Turns Mouse into Factory for Human Liver Cells

CowboyNeal posted about 7 years ago | from the more-drugged-up-mice dept.

Biotech 93

Oregon Health & Science University researchers have figured out how to turn a mouse into a factory for human liver cells that can be used to test how pharmaceuticals are metabolized. The technique, published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, could soon become the gold standard not only for examining drug metabolism in the liver, which helps scientists determine a drug's toxicity, but also can be used as a platform for testing new therapies against infectious diseases that attack the liver, such as hepatitis C and malaria.

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93 comments

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Won't somebody please think of the laptops? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20180285)

Those of us with a touchpad or trackpoint seem to be out of luck.

Re:Won't somebody please think of the laptops? (1)

AlmostEarthling (1042844) | about 7 years ago | (#20180773)

You posted as AC for a reason, didn't you? ;-)

F.

Re:Won't somebody please think of the laptops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20181033)

And if you know the persons actual name and reveal it here you can expect to be arrested for possession of a DRM circumvention device under the DMCA. Even if you are in Sweden or some other screwed up place like that that doesn't respect digital rights.

IAACL (I Am Anonymous Coward's Lawyer)

Re:Won't somebody please think of the laptops? (1)

utopianfiat (774016) | about 7 years ago | (#20183133)

You want to talk about intellectual property? What about these cheap liver-cell knockoffs these mice are producing? I'll bet they're tainted with antifreeze or something...

Wait for it . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20197119)

OHSU Turns Mouse into Factory for Human Liver Cells


. . . I'll drink to that!!

Re: OHSU == Mad Scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20193673)

There is a reason OHSU is known as the MIT for mad scientists :-)

Re: OHSU == Mad Scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20198861)

True :-)

OHSU also have a really kewl hill side campus and kick-butt aerial tramp! It looks like a swiss ski village meets the ivory tower :-)

Re: OHSU == Mad Scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20219621)

I wish they would have excepted me :-(

Downside... (4, Funny)

Moraelin (679338) | about 7 years ago | (#20180307)

Downside: after one of those treatments you'll have a craving for cheese and a fear of cats. Then again, for some people it might not be much of a difference ;)

Re:Downside... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20180357)

Re:Downside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20180517)

Other downside: Some of these lab animals get free and certain predators develope a taste for human liver.

predators develope a taste for human liver? (1)

Proofof. Chaos (1067060) | about 7 years ago | (#20183705)

Of course they will. Obviously, you've never tried human liver with fava beans and a nice chianti. It's delicious.

Re:Downside... (5, Funny)

hcdejong (561314) | about 7 years ago | (#20180593)

That's not so bad. It's the urge to take over the world that really causes problems.

Re:Downside... (1)

Redneck Hacker (1105905) | about 7 years ago | (#20180675)

That's what I was just pondering.

Re:Downside... (1)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | about 7 years ago | (#20180875)

Same here! But what are we going to do with a Norwegian sailor, a tennis ball and a horse?

Re:Downside... (2, Funny)

BakaHoushi (786009) | about 7 years ago | (#20180941)

Egad, BRILLIANT hcdejong!

Oh, wait, no, no... What if our Earth-conquering desires are constantly defeated by a combination of poor luck, gross incompetence, underestimating and overestimating the competence of the general public, and lack of communication? ...Troz!

Re:Downside... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#20181355)

That's not so bad. It's the urge to take over the world that really causes problems.
Oh, I thought it was the strange obsession with finding the question that belongs with the answer to life, the universe and everything, which is 42.

Re:Downside... (1)

bobcat7677 (561727) | about 7 years ago | (#20184685)

Look at the bright side: At least you know what you are going to do tomorrow night:)

Re:Downside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20186593)

I swear OHSU is becoming the MIT for evil scientists. These guys have been doing some really wack stuff over the years :-P

Re:Downside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20196267)

It's "Doctor Evil," please. I didn't spend six years at OHSU to be called "Mister Evil."

Re:Downside... (1)

martyb (196687) | about 7 years ago | (#20181553)

Downside: after one of those treatments you'll have a craving for cheese and a fear of cats. Then again, for some people it might not be much of a difference ;)

I've found someone who MUST have been treated; he likes dogs and craves cheese. More details here [wikipedia.org] . ;^)

The mouse problem (1)

dj245 (732906) | about 7 years ago | (#20181653)

Confessor: (very slowly and painfully) Well it's not a question of wantiing to be a mouse... it just sort of happens to you. All of a sudden you realize... that's what you want to be.

Interviewer: And when did you first notice these... shall we say... tendencies?

Confessor: Well... I was about seventeen and some mates and me went to a party, and, er... we had quite a lot to drink... and then some of the fellows there ... started handing ... cheese around ... and well just out of curiosity 1 tried a bit ... and well that was that.

Interviewer: And what else did these fellows do?

Confessor: Well some of them started dressing up as mice a bit ... and then when they'd got the costumes on they started ... squeaking.

Interviewer: Yes. And was that all?

Confessor: That was all.

Interviewer: And what was your reaction to this?

Confessor: Well I was shocked. But, er... gradually I came to feel that I was more at ease ... with other mice.

Great, but... (0, Redundant)

ameyer17 (935373) | about 7 years ago | (#20180315)

This sounds promising (if it's not marketing hyperbole), but I'm pretty sure PETA (and other fringe animal rights groups) won't like this.

Re:Great, but... (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about 7 years ago | (#20180381)

Does it matter if they don't like it? Scientists are doing this kind of thing (research on mice/rats, not successfully creating a factory for liver cells) all the time. If those PETA people are going to let scientists do research on them, fine, but if not they should STFU and let these scientists help sick people get better - I think that's much more important than making sure that a mouse gets to run around in a sewer. It is a bit 'mean' to research on them like this, sure, but if you keep with that line of reasoning then you just shouldn't ever eat anything, because it's all alive at some point, and we have taken advantage of even the vegetables by planting and harvested their organs.

"Angel of the Lord, what are these tortured screams?"
And the angel said unto me,
"These are the cries of the carrots,
the cries of the carrots.
You see, reverend Maynard, tomorrow is harvest day
and to them it is the holocaust."
And I sprang from my slumber drenched in sweat
like the tears of one millions terrified brothers
and roared,
"Hear me now,
I have seen the light,
they have a consciousness,
they have a life,
they have a soul.
damn you!
let the rabbits wear glasses,
save our brothers...can I get an amen?"

Re:Great, but... (1)

dhavleak (912889) | about 7 years ago | (#20180823)

Agreed.

If PETA want to rally against Michael Vick, or against testing on animals for research into, say, cosmetics - I'll be the first to join them. But I hope they don't have a problem with research of this sort.

Re:Great, but... (1)

swokm (1140623) | about 7 years ago | (#20181415)

If PETA want to rally against Michael Vick, or against testing on animals for research into, say, cosmetics - I'll be the first to join them. But I hope they don't have a problem with research of this sort.
Sorry to disappoint you. Absolutists are... well, absolute. Here is a nifty link to their FUD page [peta.org] that explains their wonderful world-view.

Re:Great, but... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 7 years ago | (#20181485)

"But I hope they don't have a problem with research of this sort."

Indeed, so do the vast majority of their members. Yet despite all evidence to the contrary, they still donate. Weird.

Re:Great, but... (1)

BillGod (639198) | about 7 years ago | (#20181309)

It's not even that the mouse would be running around in the sewer. These mice are RAISED to be test subjects. If the idiots at PITA didn't care more for a mouse than it did human life. They would realize that if we were not testing on these mice the mice would never even have been born. Besides the fact it's a FREAKING MOUSE!

Devil's Advocate (2, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | about 7 years ago | (#20181387)

If the idiots at PITA didn't care more for a mouse than it did human life. They would realize that if we were not testing on these mice the mice would never even have been born.

I'm not much of a PETA supporter. I think that avoiding cruelty to animals is important, but I strongly object to the idea that we have no right to make use of them for food or for research into medicines that save human lives. However, I would like to point out that this line of reasoning is nigh-irrelevant in the context of their beliefs about the inherent rights of animals. Let me ask a simple, devil's advocate question to illustrate why:

Wouldn't this same justification for mistreatment apply to people born into slavery thanks to forced breeding?

Re:Devil's Advocate (1)

somersault (912633) | about 7 years ago | (#20181443)

Also if some super-advanced alien race thought of us in the way that we think of mice, then we would object. Though the mice don't really have consciousness on the same level, but I'm sure they don't like pain much!

Re:Devil's Advocate (1)

emilng (641557) | about 7 years ago | (#20182355)

What if some super-advanced alien race or alien races already thought of us in the way that we think of mice? There are plenty of people claiming to have been abducted. Those people who claimed to have been abducted already object.

The idea of advanced aliens races is plausible given Drake's equation and the idea of aliens abducting us for experimentation is not that far-fetched of an idea considering how many animals we tag and track or breed in captivity. I wonder if there are PETA type groups among aliens that object to humans being abducted or experimented on or if the groups doing abducting are actually just alien conservationists who realize that humans have the potential to destroy ourselves and want to preserve our species.

Re:Devil's Advocate (1)

hesiod (111176) | about 7 years ago | (#20187361)

> What if some super-advanced alien race or alien races already thought of us in the way that we think of mice? There are plenty of people claiming to have been abducted.

Now that's just freaky... I was thinking this exact thing like a half-hour before I started reading the summary and comments for this article.

Re:Devil's Advocate (1)

swokm (1140623) | about 7 years ago | (#20181531)

Holy crap! It's a good thing your playing Devil's Advocate because it sure sounds like you just equated (here in the USA, for example) people with black skin as animals.

I think you may want to avoid doing that in the future, as most human beings I know find it offensive to be thought of as an animal. In fact, if you were to say that out loud, many places in the US, I really don't think you'd like the outcome. And I'm not sure I'd help you out.

So, no, whatever your position is on mice, it is unrelated, and does not justify, the mistreatment to people born into slavery and subject to forced breeding.

I know that's not what your trying to say (Devil's Advocate and all), so I thought I'd point that out for you.

Re:Devil's Advocate (1)

emilng (641557) | about 7 years ago | (#20182425)

The parent made no mention of black people as slaves, you just equated slavery with referring to black people.
Slavery is still occurring all over the world and even in parts of the US. It's just not government sanctioned like the way it was in the past.

Re:Devil's Advocate (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about 7 years ago | (#20183539)

Two points:

1) Not all slaves were black. Slavery and forced breeding have been practiced world-wide throughout history. It is a function of your own cultural biases that you equated the two and immediately took offense from that when what you should've taken offense at was the suggestion that abuse of slaves can be justified by the reason for their birth.

2) PETA members equate all humans and animals in terms of the rights they share. To a PETA member, there is no difference between the two because both lines of reasoning result in justification of the abuse of a creature with inherent rights merely because it was bred for those purposes.

Personally, I disagree on the fundamental principle of which rights mice enjoy, and so the question has no real implications to me. However, to a PETA member, it frames the crux of their argument against animal experimentation, and to a British anti-vivisectionist it can justify even violence against other people.

Re:Devil's Advocate (1)

swokm (1140623) | about 7 years ago | (#20191737)

I know you think you are being clever. But you're not.

Not all slaves were black.
Good for you, you pass. Look through this thread, nobody said all slaves were black. That would be your assumption. The quote was:

it sure sounds like you just equated (here in the USA, for example) people with black skin as animals
This is correct. In the United States of America, as I point out, there was a long, very culturally significant period of time in which people born with black skin were forced into slavery. The phrase "for example" means I am providing you with a subset of data, so that you may better understand WTF I am talking about, and why it would be considered offensive. If you say what you said in America, it will be interpreted as above. This is due to the culture of America, correct. However, you don't have any clue who I am, or what my personal cultural beliefs or biases might be, only those of America at large by my statement.

When someone is talking about mice, and YOU state as you did above:

"they would realize that if we were not testing on these mice the mice would never even have been born."
Wouldn't this same justification for mistreatment apply to people born into slavery thanks to forced breeding?
You are equating the feelings and treatment of mice with slaves. I performed a cultural translation for you so that you might understand why this would be offensive if you were in America. If you or your countrymen aren't American, and have wronged humans with a different color skin, perform your own cultural translation, I shouldn't have to do it for you. Saying this in the guise of "Devil's Advocate" doesn't make it somehow more appropriate.

PETA members equate all humans and animals
So what? What does that justify? That doesn't even make any sense, as you seem to despise PETA's true motives and actions as much as I do. Yet you are willing to use THEIR moral compass to justify YOUR actions?

Just use a different fucking analogy. Get it? If you have to use a human slavery comparison, compare the abuse of slaves to the ill-gotten privileges of "free" humans. Not animals. The irony is that if you had just said, "What I meant was 'using the current existence of deformed or diseased mice does not justify purposefully breeding them in the first place'" I would whole-heartedly agree.

Slavery is still occurring all over the world
Yes. I believe that is wrong. WTF does that have to do with mice?

Re:Devil's Advocate (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about 7 years ago | (#20195797)

The phrase "for example" means I am providing you with a subset of data, so that you may better understand WTF I am talking about, and why it would be considered offensive. [...] However, you don't have any clue who I am, or what my personal cultural beliefs or biases might be, only those of America at large by my statement.

This is the sort of semantical parsing that I often see when people are embarrassed by having been caught in a bad argument and who are attempting to reframe it in a positive light. While it's true that I have no direct evidence of your beliefs, what you chose to read into my post is a pretty good indicator of what seems important to you. Especially, given the tone. I could be wrong, but go and reread the post from a neutral viewpoint and see if it's not a reasonable assumption.

Good for you, you pass. Look through this thread, nobody said all slaves were black. That would be your assumption.

Of course nobody said that all slaves were black. However, you did imply that it was the first association that someone should make when presented with the word "slave." It's largely irrelevant to the point being made, but it never even dawned on me to consider a racial element in the comment, nor would it occur to me to link the two into a declaration of the inferiority of people of color. It's just not the way I think about people.

You are equating the feelings and treatment of mice with slaves.

Of course I am -- PETA people do. The whole point of the question, like almost any Devil's Advocate question, is to force someone to perceive a different worldview than they're used to. In this case, I posed the question to force someone to question and think about the propositional difference between PETA members and the general populace: "Why do people have the right not to be bred for use and abuse, but animals do not?"

While I have an answer to that for myself, it's only because I've actually thought about it instead of just gut-reacting with, "Well, they just don't!" like most people do when confronted with this quandary. My question was meant to force people to consider the difference (or non-difference) as well as to illustrate that a dedicated member of PETA would easily see the parallels.

So what? What does that justify? That doesn't even make any sense, as you seem to despise PETA's true motives and actions as much as I do. Yet you are willing to use THEIR moral compass to justify YOUR actions?

Not really. However, it's a closed and self-limited mind that can't consider where people you disagree with are coming from. I constantly pose questions like this to myself when confronted with a puzzling philosophy, partially to see if I'm really right, partially to see how to argue against it if I am, and partially to see where I can find common ground and avoid unnecessarily bitter bickering if I don't have to.

I think a lot of the problem with politics in this country is the inability of people (of all political persuasions) to truly understand the people who have passionate beliefs different from theirs. It's too easy to just hate someone for being "wrong" instead of trying to understand why they're different and to see how they may be genuinely good (if wrong) people. I don't "despise PETA's true motives" (though I'm often not fond of their actions and condescending attitudes); I just disagree with their fundamental premise. Most PETA people are genuinely caring people who are just mad as a hornet at the perceived uncaring cruelty of people around them. They too fall into the trap of hating people who think differently because their way of thinking labels them as "evil," and thus they perform ridiculous stunts and snipe at people.

PETA members are like pro-lifers in this way, though both camps would most likely violently object to being lumped into the same group. They see inherent rights in a living entity that others don't, and they're horrified at the "callous" disregard of those rights by people who don't see the world the way they do. You might pity them for it if you disagree, but you shouldn't hate them for their beliefs which the genuinely believe with the best of intentions. (Disliking their extremists for their behavior is perfectly fine, if you ask me though.)

If you don't see the viewpoint of someone who disagrees with you, you can miss out on their in-group jargon and shibboleths like when GWB mentioned the Dred Scott decision in the 2004 debates as essentially an indication of wanting judges that oppose abortion (based on the old case being about whether a person was property). Pro-choicers were scratching their heads all night while pro-lifers got it immediately. If you don't see the language and POV that others have, you can't debate them effectively. The abortion debate is filled with people thumping their chest and bellowing out all the arguments that convince them of their point of view and missing how such arguments are irrelevant in the context of the framework of someone on the other side of the fence. You cannot convince a hardcore pro-lifer with a hardcore pro-choice person's cherished reasoning and vice versa. The mindsets are too alien, and the entire national debate is framed by people who don't understand the other side at all.

You also may miss out on the insights people who disagree bring. For example, I learned about the grain quinoa from vegans. It's tasty, pretty cheap, easy to prepare and store, and remarkably good for you. I would've never heard of it until I went looking for info on how vegans get complete proteins. I learned a lot of good, healthy recipes from visiting vegan sights to amuse myself with their propaganda. And while I don't agree that we should never eat meat, I did decide to try to only eat free-range chicken whenever possible after reading about industrial farming methods. I was ignorant of the ramifications of my purchases, but now I'm better informed and can act on it when I feel that I should and can.

So, to wrap up my rambling, I'd just like to say that consider the viewpoints of others is an important thing to do to avoid ignorance and self-limitation. Posing a provocative question like I did was intended to prod people in that direction. No malice was meant by it, and frankly I was reminded by you that sometimes I fail to consider the viewpoints of people who don't consider the viewpoints of others. This irony led to me stating something you thought might be construed as racist because I didn't get that people wouldn't immediately get the philosophical question that I was trying to evoke.

Oh well, you can't win them all.

Lastly...
Yes. I believe that is wrong. WTF does that have to do with mice?

I dunno - ask emilng, not me. (Not that I can say much. I've been guilty of confusing who posted what in a flamefest with an extremely condescending and flat-out wrong (in my opinion) poster recently. So, hey, I can sympathize.)

Re:Great, but... (1)

Nexcis (962706) | about 7 years ago | (#20182113)

Tool rocks.

Re:Great, but... (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about 7 years ago | (#20183147)

Isn't this from a song on track 99 of a tool CD? Can't remember what band it was.. just remember falling asleep listening to my new CD years ago, and waking up in a cold sweat and panic hearing this and the chorus:

This is necessary...
Life feeds on life
feeds on life..

Man, that was creepy!

Re:Great, but... (1)

somersault (912633) | about 7 years ago | (#20183773)

Yep, it's from the last track on Undertow (according to Wiki, Tool's first full length album), and is apparently track 69 (which I didn't know because I just ripped the CD).

devious mice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20180327)

These mice doing subtle and devious experiments on us - what will they think of next? SUddenly getting liver disease and then it goes away again. Sneaky, very sneaky

Good News for Hannibal Lecter (3, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 7 years ago | (#20180335)

Now, if they'd just turn a rat into a factory for fava beans.

Re:Good News for Hannibal Lecter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20180373)

While I agree with your sentiment, I'd rather have a rat that is genetically engineered to produce bacon. Bacon's good.

Re:Good News for Hannibal Lecter (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 7 years ago | (#20180741)

While I agree with your sentiment, I'd rather have a rat that is genetically engineered to produce bacon. Bacon's good.
Yes, I was forgetting about Hanibal's brother, Homer Lecter.

Re:Good News for Hannibal Lecter (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#20180611)

Make that java beans and you have geeks all over the planet on your side.

amazing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20180393)

Who knows what they'll be able to do with a keyboard then. Everybody knows CLIs are more powerful than any GUI.

Booze (3, Funny)

AkumaReloaded (1139807) | about 7 years ago | (#20180395)

So this means I can drink as much beer as I want without fearing liver damage, right?!!

Re:Booze (3, Funny)

DaveCar (189300) | about 7 years ago | (#20180529)


I was hoping that might be the case too.

You'll probably need to have a mouse grafted on under your right arm though :(

Re:Booze (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20180619)

So where's the downside?

Re:Booze (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20180883)


Well, I think they tend to urinate pretty much constantly, so you won't be able to get rid of those damp patches on your shirt by just buying a better deodorant.

Re:Booze (1)

E++99 (880734) | about 7 years ago | (#20180669)

So this means I can drink as much beer as I want without fearing liver damage, right?!!

Only if you chase it with one of these modified mice.

Re:Booze (1)

todd1000 (708499) | about 7 years ago | (#20180721)

First thing I thought, me needs a few of these liver producing mice ;-) I'll even make a nice home for them as long as they make more liver for me.

Re:Booze (1)

swokm (1140623) | about 7 years ago | (#20181039)

Yes, if you don't mind walking around with a mouse stapled to your chest.

(I hear that might be a turn of for the ladies... OTOH, you could do a killer 'Alien' impression.)

try (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20180399)

http://www.mobigamut.com/ [mobigamut.com]

Server administrators are a funny bunch (0, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 7 years ago | (#20180423)

We had this one project where one of the milestones required really heavy duty updates to the system. The database schema was being updated. The front end was being updated. The backend was being moved from crappy PHP code to elegant JSP code. If this were anything but our modus operandi, you'd consider it a major version upgrade, not just a point release.

Needless to say, we took all the precautions we could. We first integrated the system on our development server. We got a quarter of our users migrated to that before we called it stable enough to move to the staging server. At that point, we moved half the users over and things were humming.

It was when we took that last step and moved the system to the production servers that all hell broke loose. First, the database couldn't handle the load and started ignoring requests. Then the webserver started hiccuping and returned all sorts of invalid data. Finally, the client side programs did what they could to degrade gracefully, but without valid data our clients were totally useless.

Total system meltdown. And everything had worked so great up to the final step. If there was ever any proof for the saying "the proof in the pudding is in the eating", this was it.

We can create equivalent environments and simulate the conditions necessary for just about anything. Still, it isn't until you actually take the systems live (whether that be a stock exchange trading facilitation program, as in our case, or a medicine developed on mice rather than humans, like in the article) that you actually find out whether things work correctly or not.

Luckily for our team, our manager took the brunt of the fall and only he and the lead developer got canned. If it's your life we're talking about though, there aren't any second chances.

The difference.... (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | about 7 years ago | (#20180657)

The difference between your bad analogy & what tbe OHSU team are doing?

The OHSU team know wtf they're doing. Your team obviously didn't.

Re:Server administrators are a funny bunch (1)

todd1000 (708499) | about 7 years ago | (#20180827)

Moved from crappy PHP to JSP and only the manager and lead developer got canned, maybe a bad choice somewhere...

Interesting...

Some people wanted to do that at our place a few years back, we stuck with crappy PHP and nobody got canned, we still don't use JSP and the company has grown a lot bigger since then (close to 100x), we still use crappy PHP and it works great.

Won't say much more, but it's how you use the tools, I find PHP a lot easier to deal with on the backend, JSP is too closed, convoluted and it is slower. Mostly a pain in the ass for admins.

Re:Server administrators are a funny bunch (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | about 7 years ago | (#20180851)

Anything that will be involved in medical treatment will have to undergo severe and standardized testing, starting in small trials and increasing the scale at every step. This is why a new drug takes about 10 years to be developed and it should stay that way, you cannot make this a parallel process without risking lives. Only when the severity of the disease exceeds any negative side effects the new treatment can have (e.g. very seldom high-mortality diseases) will the new treatment be set in at a higher speed.

The problem remains however, that the human defense system is amazingly complicated and based on specific protein interactions, with an immense diversity of proteins available. As soon as a treatment as shown here comes out, there is a big chance that a batch of people will not do well under the treatment, due to protein-protein interactions only appearing in individual cases. Just look at the antibody treatment that went wrong in the phase trials recently. I think that these kind of "living material" treatments still need new rigorous standard tests developed to test dangerous side-effects in advance. This will be more complicated than the tests performed on pharmaceutical drugs, as we are dealing with much more complicated systems here. The potential is high, but what we don't need are another few cases of new treatments going wrong. Extreme carefulness and patience is needed.

The final problem which is also the most difficult one to foresee, is how the treatment will be prescribed. New treatments often go to the people for which other treatment didn't work well enough, 'hard cases', who are mostly also the people with a lot of additional health problems. The tests were done on people with isolated health problems, fitting to the treatment. No-one can predict what will happen during this real-life usage, research the Baycol incident if you want to see a recent case of a release gone wrong, bringing down the whole pharmaceutical company that developed it. The drug itself was probably not bad, just not fitted to the people who it ended up being subscribed to. There is no standardized test to prevent this (yet?).

Liver let die (3, Funny)

dotslashdot (694478) | about 7 years ago | (#20180463)

As they say, "Liver let die". Sorry.

Re:Liver let die (1)

Mnemen (1054896) | about 7 years ago | (#20181483)

Oh...ouch...that pun was painfully funny. Good one.

Animal Rights (1, Interesting)

Moniker42 (1131485) | about 7 years ago | (#20180621)

I'm sure PETA, RSPCA etc will all have something to say about this. But i see it less immoral that we're using mice (at their expense) to end human suffering rather than to test cosmetics or kill simply because they're in our home. At least this kind of animal cruelty (as it could be construed) has a negating good karma benefit.

Re:Animal Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20180831)

So you're basically saying that ends justify means... Hmmm... Where have I heard that before?

Re:Animal Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20180881)

Uh oh.

Brace for Godwin.

Re:Animal Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20181229)

I was only ordering followers, you insensitive clod!

Re:Animal Rights (2, Interesting)

swokm (1140623) | about 7 years ago | (#20181283)

Uh, no I don't think that's what was said at all. Care to elaborate, AC?

My concern is that in the last several posts above, several mention these clowns [sfgate.com] and then essentially :rolleyes:

Why mention them at all, and give them page-space and mind-share? That is what they live for; if you don't always agree with them, then why do their work for them? As our fearless leader often inappropriately chimes: "We don't want to embolden the enemy."

I think we should experiment on mice to save lives because I think people are more important than mice. The fact that there are too many people, living in an unsustainable fashion doesn't change that. For example, I don't think those people mentioned in the link above should be tortured in the exact same way they abused those animals they were "saving". Because they are (heartless, psychotic) people, not animals. I guess that organization would disagree with me about it's own members and so probably slaughtered them and left them in a dumpster somewhere. Since our relative value is the same as cockroach, and all.

If need a liver from a mouse to live, I'll thank the mouse. And take the liver.

Re:Animal Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20185369)

I disagree that people are more important than mice. Subjecting mice to genetic slavery is what we're doing, all the while disregarding the fact that their core neurological structures process the world in much the same manner we do.

The reason people casually dismiss animals as non-thinking is so they can live with the idea of eating meat and using animal products for commerce. A close-up analysis of how their brains work would tell you that they aren't all that different from humans. People need to realize this.

Am I saying end all research now? No. But they definitely need to start growing organs independently of animals and move to a direction where there isn't some being that's processing information like we do on the end of research and experimentation.

Re:Animal Rights (1)

swokm (1140623) | about 7 years ago | (#20191531)

The reason people casually dismiss animals as non-thinking is so they can live with the idea of eating meat and using animal products for commerce. A close-up analysis of how their brains work would tell you that they aren't all that different from humans. People need to realize this.
I don't casually dismiss animals as non-thinking, and I don't disregard that they are very similar to humans (go mammals!). I agree with you, however, that more humans -- especially here in the US -- need to understand their responsibility as stewards of the entire planet, its plants and animals.

Death happens. Every time we step, we alter the ground beneath us in some fundamental way, for some species of life (a sprout, a spore, a gnat, a bacteria). To think that we even get the choice to not participate in the system is just foolish. To eliminate all human impact on the environment is to eliminate all humans. Even this may be very short-sighted, as I can certainly see a plausible "Noah's Arc" scenario when the next ice age finally hits. Just by existing, you are choosing who lives and dies, where crops are planted (excluding non-human-edible life -- entire ecosystems, really) which will then only support certain forms of higher life. You can live in a cave and exist by sucking on lichen... it doesn't matter. Your presence, consumption and waste, will encourage one set of molds, mites, parasites, and mice over the default state favoring others.

Everyone decides what animals live or die every day whether you eat them or not. So let us make wise choices in light of that fact; leading us to...

Am I saying end all research now? No. But they definitely need to start growing organs independently of animals and move to a direction where there isn't some being that's processing information like we do on the end of research and experimentation.
Unless there exist highly funded medical research facilities out there that pay scientists $80,000/year solely to needlessly torture mice, what is to change about the current system? They are human, and they can't possibly all be sadists. Individuals may be unethical, but the popular notion that the field as a unit are unethical is overly broad and incorrect.

The technical problem with this statement is that a slab of meat is not an organism. It is a slab of meat. Culturing tissues is nifty, if what you are doing is culturing tissues. If you want to see how some factor changes an organism, you have to experiment on the whole organism.

My whole point of view is that we all have blood on our hands, just as will (hopefully) our children. We grow and we kill, re-introduce and experiment on all life around us, we should do it responsibly. But we cannot avoid doing it, any more that your consciousness can prevent the all deaths of all the cells of your body. But it can sculpt them, and put them to a purpose that it believes to be right. If that means destroying perfectly good tissue to save other, more vital, living cells then that is what you will have to do to live. I think that this is no more complicated than the decisions doctors face every day, and I like to think that most of them do not just wantonly destroy cells just to watch them die.

Re:Animal Rights (1)

improfane (855034) | about 7 years ago | (#20186213)

If many mice are gonna die to save us, the least we can do is provide mouse health care.

While I wouldn't deny life saving produce from animals, on another level I know it is wrong. We are certainly more complicated than other animals. Believing we are 'better' is another thing...

Better at what? There are many things mouse are better us at.

Re:Animal Rights (1)

Moniker42 (1131485) | about 7 years ago | (#20189703)

I'm not necessarily saying "the ends justify the means" but that i find it less morally problematic if there are actually benefits in the end.

I'll take it for granted that it's "immoral" to kill someone (i think so), but is it immoral to kill someone if you're stranded on a mountain as a member of a group of plane-crash victims with no other sustenance? I'm not so sure that it is, if it means more will live.

It's an extreme case; but what I'm saying is not "the ends justify the means" but "because of the good ends, i'm a bit less worried about the means" - by comparison with killing thousands of mice because I feel like it or simply because I don't like the idea of mice it doesn't trouble me as much. Animals are killed all the time, but at least there's some benefit to this.

Re:"good karma benefit"? (1)

macraig (621737) | about 7 years ago | (#20181679)

I'm sure the mouse feels terribly proud to be born with a fucked-up liver just so it can be repeatedly operated upon during its short but oh-so-meaningful life to provide alien cells to possibly save the lives of a few humans taking overpriced drugs from profit-obsessed corporations, to deal with conditions likely caused by their own overconsumption and excesses.

Yeah, if I were one of those crippled mice I'd be terribly proud. I know that as a member of the species responsible for engineering these Jem'Hadar-like mice dependent upon this ketracel-white-like NTBC, I'm also terribly proud.

Re:"good karma benefit"? (1)

swokm (1140623) | about 7 years ago | (#20181829)

Yeah, if I were one of those crippled mice I'd be terribly proud. I know that as a member of the species responsible for engineering these Jem'Hadar-like mice dependent upon this ketracel-white-like NTBC, I'm also terribly proud.
Would that be more or less proud than a mouse that was run over on the highway unnoticed? Is that considered a more honorable death in mouse culture (sorry, I am not familiar with the social conventions and religious beliefs of mice)? Or does it really not matter?

If YOU had and inherited liver disease... wait, did you say Jem'Hadar? You mean... they are fearsome warriors armed with intergalactic travel and energy weapons?! Well, why didn't you say so -- that's completely different!

I, for one, would like to welcome our new mouse overlords!

Re:"good karma benefit"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20183031)

"I'm sure the mouse feels terribly proud to be born with a fucked-up liver just so it can be repeatedly operated upon during its short but oh-so-meaningful life to provide alien cells to possibly save the lives of a few humans taking overpriced drugs from profit-obsessed corporations, to deal with conditions likely caused by their own overconsumption and excesses."

Makes my blood boil to see self obsessed pricks in the developed world bang on about issues like this.

Look further than the end of your own nose and I'm sure you'll see the terrible human cost of these diseases.

If a moose dies to provide a cure for malaria, is that right? No then take a look at the static's for global malaria deaths, eclipses AIDS by a huge factor.
1 mouse ? 10 mice? 10 000 000 million mice? I'd personally kill every fucking mouse on this planet to save one 112 year old crack addict, let alone the thousands of children killed or orphaned by malaria each year

Grow up

Re:"good karma benefit"? (1)

macraig (621737) | about 7 years ago | (#20183119)

You need look no further than your own nose to see who's self-obsessed in this room, buddy... it's called homo-centrism. Or perhaps in your case, even xenophobia.

Re:Animal Rights (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | about 7 years ago | (#20183235)

Being slashdot, animal rights ranks right up there with "think of the children" arguments.

Re:Animal Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20188639)

I live two blocks away from the OHSU campus in Southwest Portland, and started working here about a month and a half ago. PETA, ALF, and black-clad anarchist kids protest here pretty frequently. I'm not sure even half of them know what they're protesting, but they are a tolerable nuisance.

For 876344 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20180963)

22213 88872 15399 90172 87788 88872 89888 16221
77798 15262 55656 10142 77798 56561 13362 00000

Am I the only one... (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#20181117)

...whose first thought was "Great, a spare liver on my desk."?

I think it's not healthy that your first association with "mouse" is an input device and not a furry rodent. Guess it's time to check whether that yellow ball is still on top of that blue room.

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

Beyond Opinion (959609) | about 7 years ago | (#20181155)

Don't worry, it's not just you. After reading the title, I thought: "Such a simple piece of hardware, and look what they found to do with it." Too bad, that would have been cool.

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

envelope (317893) | about 7 years ago | (#20181457)

My thought was, "if they can do that with a mouse, think of what they could do with a track ball!"

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

ThatSandersKid (1068182) | about 7 years ago | (#20181737)

No, I started digging around my drawer of junk to find my old serial trackball.

Good news is, I found my old AOL 3.0 CD intact!

Giant mouse (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 7 years ago | (#20181269)

The giant mouse looked like this [typepad.com] and it stole my cookie.

Yeah, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20181491)

My PhD was in this area and I know the guy who led this research. We've heard it all before, this is just spin to help 'Yecuris', the startup company selling this research. It's not particularly new or exciting and we are as far away today from having a viable replacement for real human hepatocytes in the lab as we've ever been.

Hmmm... (1)

ShiNoKaze (1097629) | about 7 years ago | (#20181919)

Wasn't it liver cells that they injected into other mice to give regeneration? [bbc.co.uk] So... if they can make the mice make human liver cells...

Re:Hmmm... (1)

pathos49 (838882) | about 7 years ago | (#20183199)

Specifically what was done: The strain of mouse Grompee uses has a defect in tyrosine metabolism, Without drug, the tyrosine kills the host liver cells. Give drug and that pathway is shunted and cells do not die. Grompee then takes the mouse off drug AND injects human hepatocytes into the portal vein (direct path to liver) where the human hepatoctes repopulate the liver. The crug on off cycle can be repeated up to 4 times (so says the press release.

While the human hepatocytes repopulate the mouse liver they are also still mouse hepatocytes around (I believe) the number of 20 x106 cells is way to low to be a whole liver.

As for novelty, I will give this a 6-7 on a scale of 10. Liver cells have been transplanted into mice before.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

ShiNoKaze (1097629) | about 7 years ago | (#20183521)

Well I guess my question would be: Can we get a strain of the regenerative mouse that also has this tyrocine deficiency and inject human liver cells into it to have them give the regenerative capability to a human host who could then have them injected into. Probably not after reading it, as the regenerative capability transference was occuring with foetal liver stem cells, not adult ones. But sounded cool when I thought of it.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

pathos49 (838882) | about 7 years ago | (#20184143)

INteresting comments. Your intuition is better than you think. The adult liver cell is considered to be the stem cell compartment for the adult liver. Grompee created this mouse strain to show that a hemopoetic stem cell also exists. He did serial hepatocyte transplants of "normal" littermates and used a purified hemopeotic cell line to show the compartment existed. Regeneration of the liver is one of the functions of the liver. Think about it....Evolution has selected the liver that is most capable of regenrating after cell death due to ingestion of some alkloid. The adult liver can have 2/3 of it killed and in less than 2 weeks the liver will have regenerated.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | about 7 years ago | (#20184141)

The strain of mouse Grompee...

Awww! How can anyone hurt a lickle mouse called "Grompee"!

correct me if I'm wrong... (3, Insightful)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 7 years ago | (#20182409)

isn't the Human Liver a factory for Human Liver cells ?

shouldn't they be doing research into organs that don't regenerate by themselves?

Re:correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

Raptoer (984438) | about 7 years ago | (#20186149)

Perhaps, but the purpose is to be able to test drugs and diseases more effectively on mice because their livers are now using the same cells as a human liver.
Besides, the researchers probably specialize in livers, so having them research some other organ would be like telling a programmer to go design a bridge.

Ugh (0, Flamebait)

BendingSpoons (997813) | about 7 years ago | (#20183629)

True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.
-Milan Kundera, 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being.'

I should never visit any Slashdot threads touching on animal experimentation, because I am always sickened by what I find. One or two people will post thoughtful comments, debating the intersection of human medical and animal suffering. Unfortunately, these are drowned out by a chorus screaming that living creatures should be viewed only as a means to human ends. There is no thought or analysis put into these posts; they evince only selfishness and a grotesque sense of entitlement.

These posts, and how they are moderated, also reveal a disturbing group psychology. Cruel jokes about the victims, caricatures of opponents (if you hesitate about this sort of thing, you must be a frothing PETA nut) - these sort of distancing techniques have led down some terrible paths. If your reaction to this news goes no further than "lol next they'll say we can't eat carrots", it might be time to re-evaluate a few things.

Who worries about hep C any more? (1)

helicologic (845077) | about 7 years ago | (#20183965)

can be used as a platform for testing new therapies against infectious diseases that attack the liver, such as hepatitis C...

I'm more worried by the newer diseases like hepatitis C++.

Re:Who worries about hep C any more? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20193641)

or Hepatitis C#.

In related news... (1)

suitepotato (863945) | about 7 years ago | (#20189873)

...the Internet is turning computer mice into bacteria factories.
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