Contrary to the usual belief that fibrosis; the scarring linked with cirrhosis is irreversible, the recent study on animals revealed that the damage can be reversed by using Sulphasalazine.
Heavy drinking and obesity has resulted in liver disorders in about 10% of the adult population in UK.
Hepatic myofibroblasts are the cells in liver that produce scar tissue during liver injury.
The proteins produced by these cells make the scar tissue more tough and difficult to breakdown. In a healthy liver a healthy tissue replaces the scarred one whereas in a diseased tissue, the scar spreads.
In the study conducted by the scientists, it was revealed that Sulphasalazine prevents the hepatic myofibroblasts from generating the protein and thereby protects the scar tissue cells. It ultimately clears the scar tissue.
The success in human trial would lead to Sulphasalazine treatment in end-stage patients replacing liver transplantation.
"This drug could be a Godsend for alcoholics who have given up drinking. Even a seemingly small recovery of 10% can make a huge difference to the patient's general health and quality of life," said the researchers.