'Gene silencing' may improve treatment of a deadly complication of liver disease

May 27, 2009

A technique that “silences,” or turns off, genes shows promise as a potential new treatment for liver fibrosis — the disease that leads to cirrhosis — scientists in Tennessee are reporting. Their study is scheduled for the June 1 issue of ACS’ Molecular Pharmaceutics. Cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States.

Ram Mahato and colleagues note that fibrosis involves build-up of scar tissue in the liver from chronic caused by hepatitis, , toxins, or other factors. Advanced fibrosis can lead to cirrhosis, a condition in which the liver becomes so severely damaged that patients may require a transplant. There is no effective treatment, and patients urgently need new medications. Scientists believe one may emerge from the fascinating discovery that a protein called TGF-beta 1 triggers liver inflammation and that blocking the protein may help.

The researchers designed 10 chemically synthesized substances, termed siRNAs, with the ability to block or “silence” the TGF-beta 1 gene in the liver. When put into rat liver cells, the “gene silencers" decreased levels of type 1 collagen whose excessive production leads to fibrosis, as well as two other substances known to trigger liver inflammation, by almost 50 percent. The results suggest that gene silencing may be “an efficient and more specific approach for therapy of liver fibrosis,” the report states.

More information: Molecular Pharmaceutics, Journal Article: “TGF-#1 Gene Silencing for Treating

Provided by American Chemical Society (news : web)

Explore further: Researchers show that fibrosis can be stopped, cured and reversed

Related Stories

Noninvasive ways to assess liver disease

February 2, 2008

Two new studies examine non-invasive ways to determine liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. An enhanced version of the Original European Liver Fibrosis panel was found to have good diagnostic accuracy for fibrosis in patients with ...

Toxic bile damages the liver

October 24, 2008

Researchers at the Heidelberg University Hospital have discovered a new genetic disease that can lead to severe liver damage. Because a protective component of the bile is missing, the liver cells are exposed to the toxic ...

Recommended for you

Brazilian wasp venom kills cancer cells by opening them up

September 1, 2015

The social wasp Polybia paulista protects itself against predators by producing venom known to contain a powerful cancer-fighting ingredient. A Biophysical Journal study published September 1 reveals exactly how the venom's ...

Naturally-occurring protein enables slower-melting ice cream

August 31, 2015

(Phys.org)—Scientists have developed a slower-melting ice cream—consider the advantages the next time a hot summer day turns your child's cone with its dream-like mound of orange, vanilla and lemon swirls with chocolate ...

Antibody-making bacteria promise drug development

August 31, 2015

Monoclonal antibodies, proteins that bind to and destroy foreign invaders in our bodies, routinely are used as therapeutic agents to fight a wide range of maladies including breast cancer, leukemia, asthma, arthritis, psoriasis, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.