In a breakthrough that could have a major impact on organ transplant surgery, a group of Chinese scientists have successfully managed to turn adult stem cells from the skin into liver cells and thereby restoring a damaged liver in mice.
The three year-long study, which has been published in the Journal of Nature, involved the extraction of skin cells from the mice which were then converted into liver cells in a test tube.
One of Australia's prominent liver expert, Professor Geoff McCaughan said that the cells were then used to restore the damaged liver and thereby reducing the mortality rate by more than 50 percent.
Professor McCaughen went on to say that if the study can be applied to humans as well, then there is no need for a liver transplant since doctors could use the patient's own cells to regenerate the liver.
"The concept would be that they would be injected and then they would populate the liver and generate new liver function and improve liver function. That would be the Holy Grail - that they would stop the liver failing altogether, and the patient would not need a liver transplant or die", he said.