The Liver and Pancreas Group

New Therapy Development with Tissue/Organ Generation, and the Clarification of Disease Mechanisms

 The Liver and Pancreas Group is developing innovative methods to generate new liver and pancreas tissues as well as new organs in vivo. The main purpose is to develop novel therapeutic models for treating hepatic and pancreatic diseases that can replace existing treatment models currently requiring organ transplantation and /or frequent injections of drugs. Targeted illnesses include hemophilia, which requires frequent administering of blood coagulation concentrates; type 1 diabetes mellitus, which requires frequent and precise administration of insulin; and hepatic failure, which requires organ transplantation; and the metabolic liver disorder in which drug therapy are not currently available in most of cases. If a stable supply of the proteins and enzymes required for curing the diseases becomes available through generation of functional tissues inside the human body, we can expect an improvements of clinical conditions and the level of QOL can be expected.

 We are currently generating functional tissues having therapeutic significance by integrating the activities of multiple fields of research such as tissue engineering technology including cell sheet engineering; gene transfer technology aiming to achieve functional advancement; cell biology to control cell proliferation; and disease pathobiology so as to link the generated tissues with the pathological conditions. Through our research, we have developed technologies to generate liver and pancreas tissues, and have demonstrated their efficacies on animal models. Our next goal is to generate organs, which remains the biggest challenge in regenerative medicine: that is to say, we aim to generate a second liver or pancreas in the human body. By generating new organs, people can live longer and more energetic lives and we are working untiringly to bring about such a new era.

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◆Target diseases
・Liver failure
・Cirrhosis of the liver
・Chronic hepatitis
・Metabolic liver disorder
・Chronic pancreatic inflammation


Goal 1: Generation of liver/pancreas/protein-producing tissues
Goal 2: Production of liver/pancreas
Goal 3: Development of cell-gene therapy
Goal 4: Elucidation of organ regeneration mechanism
Goal 5: Elucidation of cell dysfunction mechanism



Researcher Introduction

Institute of Advanced BioMedical Engineering and Science,
Associate Professor  Kazuo OHASHI

Kazuo OHASHI Ever since the myth was told of the Greek deity of creation Prometheus growing back his liver after it was eaten by a mighty eagle, organ regeneration has been a dream of medicine. So the regeneration of organs has long been a goal of human beings but has never been achieved because the hurdles have been too high to surmount. Now, however, our team is developing technologies to make regeneration of the liver and pancreas possible. Our research has enabled us to successfully regenerate a second liver in a mouse with hepatic disease, and it is now living an energetic life thanks to the new organ. Given such developments, we believe we can realize our goal of organ regeneration by 2015.



  • Saito T, Ohashi K, Utoh R, Shimizu H, Ise K, Suzuki H, Yamato M, OkanoT, Gotoh M. Reversal of diabetes by the creation of neo-islet tissues into a subcutaneous site using islet cell sheets. Transplantation. in press 2011.
  • Kasuda S, Tatsumi K, Sakurai Y, Kato J, Taminishi S, Takeda T, Ohashi K, Okano T, Hatake K, Shima M. Expression of coagulation factors from murine induced pluripotent stem cell-derived liver cells. Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis. 2011;22(4):271- 9.
  • Ohashi K, Tatsumi K, Utoh R, Takagi S, Shima M, Okano T. Engineering liver tissues under the kidney capsule site provides therapeutic effects to hemophilia B mice. Cell Transplant. 2010;19(6):807-13.
  • Shimizu H, Ohashi K, Utoh R, Ise K, Gotoh M, Yamato M, Okano T. Bioengineering of a functional sheet of islet cells for the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Biomaterials. 2009;30(30):5943 - 9.
  • Ohashi K, Yokoyama T, Yamato M, Kuge H, Kanehiro H, Tsutsumi M, Amanuma T, Iwata H, Yang J, Okano T, Nakajima Y. Engineering functional two- and three-dimensional liver systems in vivo using hepatic tissue sheets. Nat Med. 2007;13(7):880 - 5.