Washington DC: In a breakthrough discovery, medical researchers have discovered a type of cell in mice which restores liver damage without the risk of cancer.
The researchers have also found the similar cells in human.
When healthy liver cells are depleted by long-term exposure to toxic chemicals, the newly discovered cells, known as hybrid hepatocytes, generate new tissue more efficiently than normal liver cells.
In the study, the researchers studied liver function in mice following long-term exposure to carbon tetrachloride, a chemical commonly associated with Superfund sites.
They were able to isolate the hybrid hepatocytes after observing how the tissue regenerated and then exposed healthy mice to three known cancer-causing pathways and watched the hybrid hepatocytes closely.
The researchers noticed that liver cancer never originated from these cells.
Lead author Michael Karin of the University of California said that the hybrid hepatocytes represented not only the most effective way to repair a diseased liver, but also the safest way to prevent fatal liver failure by cell transplantation.
The study is published in the journal Cell.