Regrowing Livers

Research at UW may hold promise for liver damage.

University of Washington scientists have made significant progress toward learning how to repair severely damaged human livers with stem cells.

A team of UW researchers for the first time isolated liver stem cells from human fetuses, grew them in the laboratory for months and infused them in laboratory mice, where they replaced thousands of dead liver cells.

If the experimental work continues successfully in the years to come, the technique could one day repair livers badly damaged by drug overdoses, hepatitis and alcoholism.

From the current research, “we gained tremendous understanding of human embryology, cell origins and how the liver is put together,” Fausto said. “That kind of knowledge is absolutely crucial for future research.”

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