Scientists will be testing the efficacy of drugs used to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) on what they claim to be the first lab-grown human livers which have been genetically modified to be inflicted with NAFLD.
The team’s proof-of-concept studies using the mini livers are published in Cell Metabolism, and indicate how a human gene that is involved in key metabolic processes regulates fat accumulation in the liver. The studies may also explain why one drug candidate against fatty liver disease that seemed promising in mouse models, wasn’t effective in clinical trials.
NAFLD is a complex disorder that can increase the risk of diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, and potentially lead to liver failure, the authors explained.
There are several factors that could cause the development of NAFLD in people however, it's difficult to pinpoint exactly how it happens and what the underlying molecular mechanism is behind the disease.
(Image credit: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center)