Scientists at Sapporo University Medical School in Japan may have developed a method to stop the progression of liver cirrhosis, and in fact, to actually reverse the disease. Until now, the disease has been considered incurable (at least by the medical community) with liver transplant the only real option.
Cirrhosis occurs when the liver becomes overtaxed by excessive consumption of alcohol or carbohydrates, or in response to certain diseases such as Hepatitis B and C. Hepatic stellate cells within the liver respond to liver damage by producing collagen, a fibrous, sticky substance, which in turn scars and hardens the surrounding tissue. To address this condition, the researchers developed molecules that actually block collagen production. They then found a way to encase the collagen-blocking molecules in vitamin A — which the stellate cells naturally absorb — and injected the “disguised” molecules into rats that had cirrhosis. The “tricked” stellate cells absorbed the disguised molecules, which in turn blocked continuing collagen production. >