Inactivating a certain protein-coding gene promotes liver tissue regeneration in mammals, claims a recent study. "This research gives us ideas about new ways to treat liver damage or chronic liver disease," said senior researcher Dr. Hao Zhu of Children's Medical Center Research Institute. Tails in lizards and arms in starfish show an astounding ability to regrow, but mammals have partially lost the capacity to extensively regenerate body parts, Dr. Zhu said. The liver is unique among human solid organs in its robust regenerative capability. A healthy liver can regenerate up to 70 percent of its tissue after injury, he explained. However, when the liver has been repeatedly damaged, by chemical toxins or chronic disease, it loses its ability to regenerate. The Zhu laboratory studies both regeneration, when cells proliferate to repair an organ, and cancer, when cells proliferate out of control. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that liver cancer deaths increased at the highest rate of all common cancers from 2003-2012. ‘When the liver has been repeatedly damaged, by chemical toxins or chronic disease, it loses its ability to regenerate.’ In addition to cirrhosis, risk factors for liver cancer include infections caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), liver damage from alcohol or other toxins, chronic liver disease, and certain rare genetic disorders. Dr. Zhu began his investigation by studying a mouse that lacked Arid1a, the mouse version of a gene associated with some human cancers. Based on this association, the researchers hypothesized that mice lacking Arid1a would develop liver damage and, eventually, liver cancer. They were surprised when the opposite proved to be the case - no liver damage occurred. In fact, livers of the mice regenerated faster and appeared to function better, he added. On observation, livers in the mice without the gene appeared healthier. Blood tests confirmed improved liver function. When researchers deleted the gene in mice with various liver injuries, they found that the livers replaced tissue mass quicker and showed reduced fibrosis in response to chemical injury. Also, other tissues such as wounded skin healed faster in Arid1a-deficient mice. No drugs are currently available to mimic a lack of this protein, although the researchers are using a grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to search for one.Source: ANI << Back-To-Nature Message, Say No to Chemical Loaded Products Preserved Ice Age Puppies in the Permafrost Awe Scientists >> Recommended Reading New Drug Delivery Technique Developed to Treat Melanoma More than 67,000 people in US were diagnosed with melanoma in 2012 alone. If caught early, melanoma patients have a 5-year survival rate of more than 98%. READ MORE Absence of Protein-Coding Gene Linked to Liver Tissue Regeneration in Mammals Scientists at the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern reported that inactivating a protein-coding gene promotes liver tissue regeneration. READ MORE Transplant Drug Helpful for Patients With Progressive Liver Disease The drug, mycophenolate mofetil seems safe and effective in treating autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), indicates a new research. READ MORE Engineers Create Lab-Grown Heart and Liver Tissue for Better Drug Testing The "person-on-a-chip" technology, called AngioChip, offers a powerful platform for testing new drugs and also be used to repair or replace damaged organs. READ MORE Current Treatments for Liver Cancer Current Treatments for Liver Cancer (also known as hepatoma or hepatocellular carcinoma) can result in complete cure of the disease if it is detected early. READ MORE Fatty Liver Disease: A Growing Health Problem in India Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of liver dysfunction worldwide and is a rapidly growing health problem in India. READ MORE Hepatitis A Hepatitis A is the most benign of the hepatitis viruses and usually has no long term side effects. Hepatitis A vaccine is available that is 95% effective in preventing the disease. READ MORE Living Donor Liver Transplant: What Are the Risks? The risk of dying as a result of a living donor liver segment removal is between 0.2-2.0%. The risk of morbidity is anywhere between 1.3% (in highly experienced centers) to 60%. READ MORE Milk Thistle Milk Thistle is a resourceful natural plant which has many medicinal benefits. In herbal medication milk thistle is used in cases of liver diseases. READ MORE Wilson's Disease This is a rare inherited systemic disorder of copper metabolism, affecting the liver mainly before other organs. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Hearing Loss Calculator Daily Calorie Requirements Sanatogen More News on: Liver BiopsyHepatitis ALiverWilson's DiseaseMilk ThistleCurrent Treatments for Liver CancerFatty Liver Disease: A Growing Health Problem in IndiaLiving Donor Liver Transplant: What Are the Risks?