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Adult Human Liver Cells Can Be Generated From Stem Cells

 
  July, 20 2000 3:35
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BIG STEM-CELL STEP

Adult human liver cells can be derived from stem cells originating in the bone marrow or circulating outside the liver, Malcolm R. Alison of Imperial College School of Medicine, London, UK, and colleagues announce in a Brief Communication this week (Nature, Vol. 496, Issue 6793, p. 257). This raises the possibility that blood-system stem cells could be used clinically to generate liver cells for replacing damaged tissue.

Previous work in mice had suggested that this might be possible but this is the first time it has been demonstrated in humans. Collecting blood system stem cells - so-called 'haematopoietic' stem cells - is easy. Alison's group show that these cells can be persuaded to develop into hepatocytes, the main functional cells of the liver, in the right environment. "Our results should contribute to the development of the use of human tissue in a therapeutic context," the team concludes.

CONTACT:

Malcolm Alison tel +44 20 8383 3247,
fax +44 20 8383 8141,
e-mail m.alison@ic.ac.uk

(C) Nature press release.


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