New Organ Liver Prize Gathers Momentum

New Organ, a collective initiative for biomedical engineering and regenerative medicine, announced today that two new teams have joined the field competing for the New Organ Liver Prize, a global competition sponsored by the Methuselah Foundation, a biomedical charity. The prize challenge will award $1,000,000 to the first team that creates a regenerative or bioengineered solution that enables a large animal to live 90 days without native liver function.

These two distinguished teams, led by Dr. Hiro Nakauchi of Stanford University/University of Tokyo and Dr. John Geibel of Yale University, join five others representing scientists and clinicians from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research, University College London, University of Florida, University of Oxford, University of Pittsburgh, and Yokohama City University. “We’re thrilled that Stanford, Yale, and the University of Tokyo have joined this vital competition,” New Organ Founder and Methuselah CEO David Gobel said. “We launched the Liver Prize because organ disease, and the associated organ shortage, represents one of the greatest medical challenges that can be solved. With millions of people in dire need of new organs, and the scientific foundations now in place to pursue a vision of organs on demand, the time has come to solve the organ crisis once and for all.”

Dr. Hiro Nakauchi has been working on the challenge of generating functional organs from pluripotent stem cells since 2007. His team has been joined by Dr. Sheikh Tamir Rashid from the University of Cambridge and Dr. Takanori Takebe of Yokohama City University, prominent researchers known for their innovative in vitro culture systems for growing “hepatocytes” and “liver buds” from human iPSCs, respectively (Nature 2011, Nature 2013).