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Researchers develop new model to study liver disease

Category: Liver Diseases

A team of Australian researchers has developed a new animal for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, which they say will allow other scientists to investigate possible treatments for the condition. This could benefit millions of people who have received unhealthy liver panel tests.

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is growing increasingly common in the U.S. It causes damage to the liver that is very similar to that seen in heavy drinkers, but occurs in people with normal alcohol consumption. Currently, there is no cure for the condition.

In the current study, researchers from the Australian National University identified a genetic mutation in opossums that predisposes the animals to developing liver problems that resemble non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Breeding future generation to have this mutation will allow investigators to examine the progression of the disease and possibly develop new treatments to fight it. 

"This is the type of model in which to develop mechanism-based therapies," said lead researcher Geoffrey C Farrell.

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis has been growing much more common in the U.S. in recent years due in large part to the worsening obesity epidemic. It is generally caused by high levels of fat in the liver, which can cause scarring that impairs the organ's function.ADNFCR-2248-ID-800812857-ADNFCR

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