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Regenerative process could be restored in liver after severe injuries, study shows

pharmafile | August 16, 2018 | News story | Research and Development Edinburgh University, liver, mice, research, transplants 

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh were able to restore a regenerative response that prevented the need for a liver transplant in mice, a study published in Science Translational Medicine has shown.

The liver has incredible regenerative abilities that allow the organ to repair itself in many cases.  However this regenerative process may fail in a normal liver after severe injuries such as those related with acetaminophen (paracetamol) overdoses. Around 200 people suffer from sudden life threatening liver failure in the UK each year.

However a team of researchers at Edinburgh University were able to show that the regenerative ability could be restored using a cancer drug. The new treatment could reduce the necessity for organ transplants.

 The team discovered that severe injuries triggered a process called senescence which blocked the regenerative ability. The scientists were able to block senescence using the cancer drug in mice. Those mice given the drug survived.

Dr Thomas Bird who led the research commented: “The beauty of this clinically is even if you have massive injury, if the liver is regrown then you have a normal life after that. The most obvious thing to do now is clinical trials in patients with acute liver failure and see if we can prevent the need for transplant.”

 Lindsay Keir, from the Wellcome Trust, added: “The research so far suggests that a medication could be used to treat this condition, avoiding the need for a liver transplant which is a major operation and reducing the demand on the limited supply of livers available for transplant.”

Louis Goss

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