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Russian Stem Cell Researchers Make Patients' Livers Heal Themselves

Russian scientists have developed a method for prompting a damaged liver to rejuvenate itself though stem cell implants, essentially allowing a patient to regrow a healthy organ, local media reported.

During experiments on mice with artificially induced liver damage, 100 percent of rodents who received the treatment survived a year after the procedure, while half of those in the control group died, said Murat Shagidulin, a senior researcher at the Moscow-based Shumakov Institute for Transplantation, ITAR-Tass reported Wednesday.

The process involves creating a "cell engineering construction," or a "bio-artificial liver," from bone marrow and liver cells and then implanting it into the patient's liver or small intestine, Shagidulin told a conference on cell research in Novosibirsk.

"The implantation in the body forces liver cells to regenerate," he said, adding that mice who received the implants had their liver functions return to normal within a week.

Cirrhosis of the liver is a leading cause of death of Russians over the age of 40, the report said.

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