Researchers have uncovered a new drug that spurs liver regeneration after surgery. Liver cancer often results in a loss of blood flow and thus oxygen and nutrients to the liver tissue, resulting in deteriorating liver function. Although the diseased part of the liver can often be surgically removed, the sudden restoration of blood flow to the remaining liver tissue can trigger inflammation -— a process known as ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI). IRI results in part from the deposition of immune proteins called complement on the surface of liver cells, causing them to die and thus impairing liver regeneration.
Tracking gene expression patterns for 20,000 genes in 1,500 cells revealed a mosaic of activities. The liver’s amazing multitasking capacity is due at least in part to a clever division of labor among its cells, new research demonstrates. If you get up in the morning feeling energetic and clearheaded, you can thank your liver for manufacturing glucose before breakfast time. Among a host of other vital functions, it also clears our body of toxins and produces most of the carrier proteins in our blood. In a study report it has been showed that the liver’s amazing multitasking capacity is due at least in part to a clever division of labor among its cells.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common form of liver cancer, but treatment options are limited and many patients are diagnosed in late stages when the disease can’t be treated. Now, researchers have developed a new treatment that combines chemotherapy and immunotherapy to significantly slow tumor growth in mice. The researchers believe that with more research, the strategy could be translated to benefit patients with the disease.
Interventional radiologists have been the leaders in the use of intra-arterial yttrium-90 radio embolization, since its introduction in 2000, to treat liver cancer. Now, new results from a large multi-institutional study show that treating liver tumours with higher doses of Y-90 than previously tried is safe, provides results when chemotherapies have failed, preserves the patient’s quality of life — and can be done on an outpatient basis.
Research could uncover who is most at risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and lead to new treatments for this increasingly common condition. A new mouse study suggests that exposure to a high-fat diet in the womb and immediately after birth promotes more rapid progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease later in life. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common chronic liver disease diagnosed in adults and children. The offspring of pregnant mice that consumed a high-fat diet developed liver fibrosis, a type of tissue scarring that is a sign that more serious disease will develop. The offspring weaned to a low-fat diet after maternal high-fat diet exposure developed fibrosis in adulthood. The livers of these mice also had signs of fat accumulation and inflammation.
Researchers bioengineering human liver tissues uncovered previously unknown networks of genetic-molecular crosstalk that control the organ’s developmental processes — greatly advancing efforts to generate healthy and usable human liver tissue from human pluripotent stem cells. The scientists report that their bioengineered human liver tissues still need additional rounds of molecular fine tuning before they can be tested in clinical trials.
Researchers generated a mouse with dysfunctional telomeres in the liver; as a result, it developed cellular alterations present in human diseases such as hepatitis or cirrhosis. This study is the first to show that alterations in the functioning of telomeres lead to changes in the liver that are common to diseases associated with an increased risk of liver cancer. This finding provides the basis for understanding the molecular origin of these diseases, as well as identifying new therapeutic strategies for their prevention and control.