Artificial molecules cure cirrhosis in animal study

Japanese scientists have found a way to deliver a payload of artificial molecules designed to prevent cells from secreting collagen, possibly pointing to a new approach to treating cirrhosis that could be commercialized in just a few years. In a study involving rats, the research team created artificial molecules that blocked the creation of collagen in liver stellate cells. The molecules were wrapped in vitamin A so that the stellate cells would absorb the molecules, allowing the therapy to work. Cirrhosis--a hardening or scarring of tissue--is caused by heavy drinking as well as hepatitis C and B. Yoshiro Niitsu at the Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine in Japan said the approach cured cirrhosis in rats.

"We want to carry out clinical tests with private companies and put this to practical use within five years," one of the researchers told AFP by telephone.

- read the AFP report