Towards Liver Regeneration

(From the Seattle Times). Researchers are making progress towards regenerative medicine capable of repairing the liver: "the scientists were able to both isolate the liver stem cells and grow them into basic liver and bile-duct cells. ... It's so far the best work on the characterization of stem cells in the human liver. ... UW researchers then maintained the cells in special lab cultures for up to six months, and at various times infused them into mice with about half of their livers destroyed. The immune systems of the mice were suppressed to prevent rejection of the human cells. ... It was a delight when we saw these cells were capable of [partially] repopulating the damaged liver ... we gained tremendous understanding of human embryology, cell origins and how the liver is put together. That kind of knowledge is absolutely crucial for future research." Researchers are making similar progress for many other types of tissue in the body, setting the stage for a blossoming of regenerative medicine for age-related tissue damage in the years ahead.



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