Among all the organs in your body, few are as good at repairing themselves as the liver. Sometimes, though, even the liver can’t fix damage caused by cirrhosis and acute failure.
Enter stem cells. A team of researchers in the United Kingdom has, for the first time ever, repaired a severely damaged liver in a lab mouse by transplanting liver stem cells that were grown in a laboratory.
The transplanted stem cells converted themselves into hepatocytes, the cells in the liver than produce proteins and break down toxins, restoring functionality to the organ.
“Revealing the therapeutic potential of these liver stem cells brings us a step closer to developing stem cell based treatments for patients with liver disease,” said Stuart Forbes, of the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh.