Liver transplantation is the standard care for many end-stage liver diseases. However, donor organs are scarce and some people succumb to liver failure before a donor is found. Liver regenerative medicine is a special interdisciplinary field of medicine focused on the development of new therapies incorporating stem cells, gene therapy and engineered tissues in order to repair or replace the damaged organ. In this review we consider the emerging progress achieved in the hepatic regenerative medicine within the last decade. The review starts with the characterization of liver organogenesis, fetal and adult stem/progenitor cells. Then, applications of primary hepatocytes, embryonic and adult (mesenchymal, hematopoietic and induced pluripotent) stem cells in cell therapy of liver diseases are considered. Current advances and challenges in producing mature hepatocytes from stem/progenitor cells are discussed. A section about hepatic tissue engineering includes consideration of synthetic and natural biomaterials in engineering scaffolds, strategies and achievements in the development of 3D bioactive matrices and 3D hepatocyte cultures, liver microengineering, generating bioartificial liver and prospects for fabrication of the bioengineered liver.
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