Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research offers hope of new treatments for liver damage ‘plague’

06.01.2005


Millions of patients suffering from liver damage (cirrhosis) and failure may benefit from research by the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh that could lead to new life-saving treatments. There is currently no cure for liver cirrhosis and a patient’s only hope of survival is to receive a liver transplant.

The Southampton scientists from the University’s Infection, Inflammation and Repair Division of the School of Medicine, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Edinburgh and Cincinnati, USA have, for the first time, identified two separate populations of immune cells — macrophages — in the liver. One group of macrophages causes scarring to the liver, but the next wave of immune cells, produced only a few days later, change function to break down and reabsorb the scarring. These findings, published in the January edition of Journal of Clinical Investigation, will help doctors to understand the mechanisms by which the liver is damaged and repaired and may lead to future treatments.

Professor John Iredale of the University of Southampton said: ‘We are facing a huge increase in the numbers of patients with advanced liver fibrosis (scarring) and cirrhosis (end stage scarring of the liver). Currently we have no effective treatment for liver cirrhosis which is associated with internal bleeding, liver failure and the development of primary liver cancer. There is a huge imperative to develop new approaches to the treatment of liver scarring. Exciting insights such as these will inform the design of future therapies.’



Researcher Dr Jeremy Duffield of Edinburgh explained: ‘The links between the immune system, inflammation and scarring in the liver have not been well understood, and this has hindered progress in finding ways to prevent and repair liver damage. Now that we have shown how the macrophages work, we aim to find out how to create, activate and de-activate these cells to make them repair, rather than damage, liver tissue.’

He added: ‘Cirrhosis, commonly but not always caused by alcohol consumption, can lead to liver failure. At a time when outcomes for other diseases such as cancers and heart trouble have made dramatic gains, liver damage — described as the new plague of the 21st century — has yet to be understood and in turn to become treatable. More women in the UK now die of liver failure than do of cancer of the cervix.’

There has been a fourfold increase in the number of men aged 45–54 dying of cirrhosis since 1970 and a threefold increase in women of the same age group. Liver failure is also rapidly increasing in younger people with the deaths in the UK of 500 men and 300 women aged 25–44 in 2003.

Further research into macrophages is set to follow and scientists will explore the role of these immune-system cells in damage and repair to other organs, including the kidney.

Sarah Watts | alfa
Further information:
http://www.soton.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht On track to heal leukaemia
18.01.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>