Leprosy: an ancient disease that can regenerate organs

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 Leprosy: an ancient disease that can regenerate organs

The leprosy bacteria may hold the secret to safely repairing and regenerating the body, say researchers from the University of Edinburgh.

Animal experiments have revealed the remarkable ability of bacteria to almost double the size of the liver, promoting healthy growth. Scientists say that if they can figure out how they do it, medicine will have new anti-aging treatments.

Therefore, the researchers turned to the battleships — the only animal that also becomes infected with leprosy. The results, published in Cell Reports Medicine, showed that the liver almost doubled in size, while its cells were completely healthy, functional and at the same time “young”, that is, the bacteria returned them to a much younger stage organism or even a fetus in which the liver is in the process of formation. However, the exact mechanism of how this all happens remains unclear.

It is hoped that this mechanism could be used to repair the livers of people awaiting transplants, patients with cirrhosis, or even repair some of the damage caused by aging in other parts of the body.

“Our dream is to use the same bacterial strategy to use the ingenuity of bacteria to create new drugs for regeneration and repair,” — said Prof. Rambuccana.

Since the study was conducted using armadillos as test subjects, it is unclear whether these promising results can be applied to human liver biology. Moreover, since the bacteria used in this study are disease-causing, significant improvements in methods will be required before human studies can be carried out.

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