Skip to comments.Man-Made Molecules Reverse Liver Cirrhosis in Rats
Posted on 03/30/2008 12:28:08 PM PDT by anymouse
HONG KONG (Reuters) - 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
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.
Of course it would much easier to just quit drinking.
I'll drink to that. :)
This is really great. Now drunks can live longer and still keep on drinking.
Well there comes a point where it doesnt matter if you stop drinking , the liver becomes is so scarred that it can’t repair itself at all.
But it would be much more fun to just drink without having to worry about it. :p
But wait, isn't the place where cloning breakthroughs are found to be hoaxes?
Worrying about potential health problems will drive a man to drink.
I take it that the experimental subject was Ted Kennedy.
The liver in that RAT is probably unsalvagable.
I’m gonna forward this to PETA,maybe they can come up with a 10 step program to help these rodents.
“Of course it would much easier to just quit drinking.”
About 27,000 people die annually as a result of liver cirrhosis. I’m sure the 60% of those deaths not linked to alcohol will be heartened to learn that if they just stop doing something they weren’t doing, they’d be fine.
Happy to hearten them.
“This is really great. Now drunks can live longer and still keep on drinking.”
Maybe people dying of Hepatitis C can live longer, pompous a$$.
The lab you are thinking of is in South Korea. This report is from a facility in Japan.
Curse your witty soul! You beat me to it. No doubt, right now at The Kennedy Compound the gin is flowing in celebration.
This is terrific news. Cirrhosis is a nasty disease.
“Ascites (fluid retention in the abdominal cavity) is the most common complication of cirrhosis and is associated with a poor quality of life, increased risk of infection, and a poor long-term outcome. Other potentially life-threatening complications are hepatic encephalopathy (confusion and coma) and bleeding from esophageal varices (varicose veins). Cirrhosis is generally irreversible once it occurs, and treatment generally focuses on preventing progression and complications.”
On another note, Silibinin, a compound found in milk thistle’s active ingredient, Silymarin, seems to be the ultimate liver drug, as it not only protects the liver, and limits the uptake of toxins for the liver to destroy, but also speeds regrowth of liver tissue by as much as 30%. It is the one chemical that can save your life if you eat a death cap mushroom.
However, even it cannot help with cirrhosis once it has begun. So hopefully this new chemical will pan out, and save many lives a year.
I was being sarcastic you O Righteous one. (although it did contain a small amount of truth)
You’re a real hoot.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.