A study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh showed that liver growth could occur through the lymph nodes. The liver has a natural ability to repair itself, as seen through liver transplants. It is thought the lymph nodes store healthy liver cells. Additional hepatocytes were implanted into the lymph nodes of 6 pigs that had had a part of their liver removed (the hepatocytes had been removed from the liver of the pigs earlier). The pigs included in the study showed signs that even with liver diseases they benefited from the additional liver cells. Despite the fact that the pigs should have been experiencing liver failure, the introduction of liver cells to the lymph nodes formed a secondary organ. The lymph nodes with liver cells created a network of bile ducts to handle the work that the failing liver couldn’t. The secondary liver grew to a size that roughly made up the size of the damaged tissue, but didn’t grow too large. This supported an earlier study done in mice that had similar findings.
For more details and a clip with more information, check out Humans Could Soon Be Able To Grow New Livers Inside Their Own Bodies By Injecting Healthy Cells Into Their Lymph Nodes, Scientists Claim After A Successful Trial In Pigs.