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Hepatocyte transplantation (HTx) has been gaining recognition as a bridge, or an alternative, to liver transplantation for patients with fulminant liver failure or congenital defects. We were the first facility approved for clinical HTx, and we performed infusions in patients with metabolic liver diseases. Our group optimized methods to isolate human hepatocytes in GMP conditions; we identified short-term assays to predict hepatocyte function prior to transplant; we evaluated cold- and cryo-storage of liver cells; we proved efficacy of inborn error hepatocytes as alternative cell source for clinical purposes. Due to the paucity of human hepatocytes, we investigated alternative sources, such as fetal liver cells, iPS and placental amnion epithelial cells (AEC). Encouraged by the lack of tumorigenicity and the expression of genes that could correct human metabolic liver diseases, in addition to immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects, we proved efficacy of human AEC in several preclinical models, leading to AEC cell banking for clinical purposes.
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