The liver is the largest solid organ in the human body, and performs a critical function in keeping us alive: it removes waste from our bodies, detoxifies our blood, and helps in various other capacities to protect us from harm. Liver disease can severely compromise the liver’s ability to perform its everyday tasks, in part, by damaging the hepatocytes (liver cells) that are normally able to renew themselves.
Currently, at least three million Canadians are living with some form of liver disease, and that number is increasing – some experts estimate it will triple in the next 20 years. With that in mind, finding new ways to treat liver failure is becoming increasingly important. Stem cells may hold a key to addressing liver failure and, hopefully with time, restoring damaged livers to their full functionality—and to restoring patients to their normal lives.
Although stem cell therapies for liver failure are still in their infancy, there is hope for patients afflicted by liver failure. The Stem Cell Network has just published another in its series of disease summaries, this one focused on liver failure—its causes and current treatment options, and how stem cells can help.
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