Japanese researchers said Monday that they had succeeded in curing liver cirrhosis in rats and hope to apply the remedy to humans suffering from the chronic disease.
Researchers from Sapporo Medical University in northern Japan used a vitamin A-laced minuscule sac containing a genetic material to prevent the production of collagen, which contributes to hardening of the organ.
Even rats with full-blown liver cirrhosis survived as the new material almost completely resolved liver fibrosis, according to the researchers, whose findings were published in the US journal Nature Biotechnology.
"We want to carry out clinical tests with private companies and put this to practical use within five years," one of the researchers told AFP by telephone.
Liver cirrhosis, a potentially life-threatening condition, is the replacement of normal liver tissue with non-living scar tissue. It can result from alcoholism, hepatitis and other causes.