Ancient Disease (Leprosy) Has Potential to Regenerate Livers, Study Finds

Leprosy is one of the world’s oldest and most persistent diseases but the bacteria that cause it may also have the surprising ability to grow and regenerate a vital organ. Scientists have discovered that parasites associated with leprosy can reprogram cells to increase the size of a liver in adult animals without causing damage, scarring or tumors. The findings suggest the possibility of adapting this natural process to renew aging livers and increase healthspan--the length of time living disease-free--in humans. Experts say it could also help regrow damaged livers, thereby reducing the need for transplantation, which is currently the only curative option for people with end-stage scarred livers.
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