Exclusive profile: LyGenesis and growing ectopic organs

The University of Pittsburgh spinout that is set to take over the tissue replacement market, one mini-organ at a time

So your organs are failing? Not to worry, says LyGenesis’ CEO Michael Hufford, we’ll grow you some mini-organs in your spare lymph nodes.

It sounds weird, we know, but it might just be an idea that is, to paraphrase Hunter S Thompson, too rare to die. Take a view of the more conventional areas of the organ replacement market (bioprinting, xenotransplantation and cybernetics) and you’ll see a lot of interesting technologies facing some very intimidating technical challenges. And, as we said on the abandonment of Organovo’s pioneering work in bioprinting, the direct solutions to these challenges may be further away than the financial solvency of the spinouts that are attempting to find them.

And that could mean that LyGenesis, a spinout of the research of Pittsburgh’s Eric Lagasse, could have the upper hand. They aim to use patient’s own lymph nodes as bioreactors to grow ectopic ‘mini-organs’ that support or replace the diseased originals, and they’ve garnered quite a bit of promising investment, having acquired $3m in Series A funding from Juvenescence back in May. Now, with their first, rather Promethean, focus on liver regeneration slated to enter human trials at the beginning of next year, Longevity.Technology sat down with CEO Michael Hufford for an exclusive chat on how he and his team plan to deliver their liver.

Michael Hufford