The liver is the body’s detoxifying organ, facilitating digestion through the production of bile, and assisting in the detoxification of drugs within the hepatocytes of the liver.
The liver is a unique internal organ as it has a capacity to regenerate its mass after resection or severe damage. However, when the liver is damaged over a long period of time, scar tissue builds up together with a decline in regeneration ability to self-repair. The only treatment option at this point is a liver transplant. As such, liver diseases cause over two million deaths per year.
reNEW researchers are exploring improved approaches to the generation of liver cells (hepatocytes), both to model disease for drug screening, but also to potentially model infectious diseases such as malaria and hepatitis. These stem cell models may also improve our understanding of healthy liver function.