A team of scientists at Oregon Health & Science University's school of medicine has engineered mice that produce human liver cells, a breakthrough that will offer researchers a significant advantage in testing new drugs. Because the liver is responsible for deconstructing the chemicals that enter the body, virtually all new drugs have to be tested to determine their impact on the liver--a key indicator of toxicity. Chemicals are often converted to new chemicals in the liver in completely unexpected ways, making the liver test critical to the success of any development program. In particular, the new mouse model will be able to test therapies that are known to mount fierce attacks on the human liver, including diseases like hepatitis C and malaria.
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