Even marginally better control over the actions of cells can improve regenerative processes in the body: "Scientists were able to unpick the process of how different cells in the liver are formed. When the liver is damaged it produces too many bile duct cells and not enough cells called hepatocytes, which the liver needs to repair damaged tissue. They found they could increase the number of hepatocyte cells - which detoxify the liver - by encouraging these cells to be produced instead of bile duct cells. Understanding how liver cells are formed could help to develop drugs to encourage the production of hepatocytes to repair liver tissue. This could eventually ease the pressure on waiting lists for liver transplants. ... The production of hepatocyte cells was increased by altering the expression of certain genes in early stage liver cells. ... This research helps us know how to increase numbers of cells that are needed for healthy liver function and could pave the way for finding drugs that help liver repair. Understanding the process in which cells in the liver are formed is key in looking at ways to repair damaged liver tissue."