Treating liver disease – NHRMC funding boost

By Rob Clancy, staff writer

A long-awaited treatment for a common cause of cancer is a big step closer thanks to Federal Government NHMRC funding – offering hope that naturally occurring nanoparticles will be the missing link for treating chronic liver disease.

A/Prof Lim's research aims to develop a nanomedicine for treating non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), among the top causes of liver cancer
Associate Professor Rebecca Lim

Associate Professor Rebecca Lim’s research aims to develop a nanomedicine for treating non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is among the top causes of liver cancer and will soon be the world’s leading indication for liver transplantation.

“NASH is a complex disease involving immune dysregulation, lipotoxicity, fibrosis and hepatocyte apoptosis,” A Prof Lim said.

Highly effective in treating this liver disease

“However, our research shows that nanoparticles shed by some cell types have the potential to be highly effective in treating people with NASH.”

To progress this work, she has been awarded $890,000 over the next three years as part of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Development Grant program.

“The failure of promising drugs is due to their inability to address all aspects of this complex disease,” A Prof Lim said.

“We have compelling evidence that nanoparticles shed by amniotic epithelial cells (a perinatal stem-like cell) have specific properties that make them an excellent candidate for use as a regenerative medicine for NASH.”

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