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Growing new livers

Large animals with liver disease are able to grow new livers within their lymph nodes, according to a US study.

Liver cells are known for their ability to regenerate, but in a severely damaged liver the environment is too toxic to allow them to repair.

Building on initial studies in mice, the team from the University of Pittsburgh, injected healthy liver cells into the lymph nodes - an organ involved in the body’s immune system - of pigs with damaged livers, and found that new liver tissues were formed.

The researchers now plan to move to clinical trials, with the hope that liver generation might be useful in any patients with liver disease, from hepatitis to alcoholism.

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