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Scientists produce liver cells from patientsÂ’ skin cells

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  • scarletpaolicchi
    Scientists produce liver cells from patients skin cells October 9th, 2009 http://blog.taragana.com/health/2009/10/09/scientists-produce-liver-cells-from-p
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 9, 2009
      Scientists produce liver cells from patients' skin cells
      October 9th, 2009


      WASHINGTON - Scientists have successfully produced liver cells from patients'
      skin cells, potentially opening the way to treating a range of diseases that
      affect the liver's functioning.

      The research team generated patient-specific liver cells by first repeating the
      work of James Thomson and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who
      showed that skin cells can be reprogrammed to become cells that resemble
      embryonic stem cells.

      They then "tricked" the skin-derived pluripotent stem cells - so named because
      of their capacity to develop into any one of the more than 200 cell types in the
      human body - into forming liver cells by mimicking the normal processes through
      which liver cells are made during embryonic development.

      At the end of this process, the researchers found that they were able to very
      easily produce large numbers of relatively pure liver cells in lab culture
      dishes, says a MCW-M release.

      The study was led by Stephen A. Duncan, professor in human and molecular
      genetics, cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy, at the Medical College of
      Wisconsin-Milwaukee (MCW-M), along with postdoctoral fellow Karim Si-Tayeb, and
      graduate student Fallon Noto.

      "This is a crucial step forward towards developing therapies that can
      potentially replace the need for scarce liver transplants, currently the only
      treatment for most advanced liver disease," Duncan said.

      Although the investigations are still at an early stage, the researchers believe
      that the reprogrammed skin cells could be used to investigate and potentially
      treat metabolic liver disease.

      Liver disease is the fourth leading cause of death among middle aged adults in
      the US. Loss of liver function can be caused by several factors, including
      genetic mutations, infections by hepatitis viruses, by excessive alcohol
      consumption, or chronic use of some prescription drugs.

      When liver function goes awry, it can result in a wide variety of disorders
      including diabetes and atherosclerosis and is fatal in many cases.
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