Artificially grown organs are proposed in Larry Niven's A Gift from Earth.
"We need to discuss three types of medical care," said Millard Parlette. "Organ transplants, the ramrobot gifts, and minor medical treatment. You already have some access to standard drugs at the medcheck stations. We can expand those. I'm sure we can offer free access to the heartbeasts and liverbeasts and so forth. For a while your colonists will have to come up to the Hospital to get treatment with the ramrobot symbiots, but eventually we can build culture tanks in Gamma and Delta and Eta."Of course a "real" artificially grown liver is still in the realm of fiction. The original article in the Daily Mail reports that actual transplantable livers are more than a decade in the future:
As it stands, the mini organ can be used to test new drugs, preventing disasters such as the recent 'Elephant Man' drug trial. Using lab-grown liver tissue would also reduce the number of animal experiments.For the time being, we'll have to rely on the extracorporeal liver-assist device (ELAD), an external artificial liver that uses hepatocytes (cultured liver cells).
Within five years, pieces of artificial tissue could be used to repair livers damaged by injury, disease, alcohol abuse and paracetamol overdose.
And then, in just 15 years' time, entire liver transplants could take place using organs grown in a lab.
NOTE: I haven't figured out where this research has been (or will be) published, other than the Daily Mail (obviously NOT a scientific journal). If I find the citation, I'll update the post.
ETA: Here is the article in Seed Magazine, which cites the Daily Mail.
Tags:science fiction, biology, stem cells, artificial organs