Rescuing Liver Function in Patients at Risk of Liver Failure
UCSF scientists have received two large grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to refine their human embryonic stem cell-based strategies for treating neurological diseases and liver failure. A team led by Mark Zern, MD, of the University of California, Davis, and including co-principal investigator Holger Willenbring, M.D., (pictured left) Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Transplant Surgery at UCSF will use their $5 million grant to develop therapeutically effective liver cells, or hepatocytes, from human embryonic stem cells. According to Willenbring, results have been promising. "Now we have to put the strategy to the test and develop it further in animal models, with the ultimate goal of rescuing liver function in patients who would otherwise die of liver failure."