Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Diplomatic strain for John Kerry

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Germany and Russia 'discuss secret Ukraine deal'

Read more

WEB NEWS

Fake Twitter accounts spread Chinese propaganda

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina set for deeper recession after default

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Former WHO Deputy Regional Director for Africa

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a 'Third Intifada'?

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France commemorates a hero of the left

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new game plan to check jihadists in Africa

    Read more

  • Israel calls up 16,000 more reservists as Gaza death toll soars

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • Kiev declares 24-hour ceasefire to aid MH17 probe

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with creditors

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged in 'terrorist' killings

    Read more

New hope for a cure for liver cirrhosis

Latest update : 2008-04-01

Scientists in Japan have designed artificial molecules that when used with rats successfully reversed liver cirrhosis, a serious chronic disease in humans that until now can only be cured by transplants.

Cirrhosis is the hardening or scarring of the liver, and is caused by factors such as heavy drinking and Hepatitis B and C. The disease is especially serious in parts of Asia, including China.

 

Cirrhosis occurs when a class of liver cells starts producing collagen, a fibrous material that toughens skin and tendons. Such damage cannot be reversed although steps can be taken to prevent further damage. In advanced cases, transplants are the only way out.

 

In the journal Nature Biotechnology, the researchers said they designed molecules that can block collagen production by liver "stellate cells", which are also known to absorb vitamin A.

 

The scientists then loaded the molecules into carriers that were coated with vitamin A, which tricked the stellate cells into absorbing the molecules.

 

"By packaging the (molecules) in carriers coated with vitamin A, they tricked the stellate cells into letting in the inhibitor, which shut down collagen secretion," the researchers wrote.

 

In the study, the researchers induced liver cirrhosis in rats and then injected them with the vitamin A-laced molecules.

 

"We were able to completely eradicate the fibrosis by injecting this agent ... we cured them of the cirrhosis," Yoshiro Niitsu at the Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine in Japan said in a telephone interview.

 

"The liver is such an important organ, after you remove the fibrosis, the liver by itself starts to regenerate tissues. So liver damage is reversible."

 

Explaining how the damage reversal came about, Niitsu said: "Liver is itself responsible for the production and deposition of collagen, it also secretes certain enzymes that dissolve collagen ... dissolve the fibrosis which has already been deposited in the tissues."

 

Niitsu was hopeful that the molecules would provide a cure for cirrhosis patients in time.

 

"We hope it (a drug) will be ready for humans in a few years," he said.
 

Date created : 2008-03-31

COMMENT(S)