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Leprosy: Chronic Disease That Regenerates Organs



Leprosy: Chronic Disease That Regenerates Organs

(CTN NEWS) – According to recent research, Leprosy, one of the oldest and most enduring diseases in existence, may have the surprising capacity to expand and regenerate livers.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh believe leprosy bacteria may hold the key to safely mending and renewing the body.

The amazing capacity of bacteria to almost double the size of livers by promoting healthy growth has been discovered through animal trials.

By doing so, the bacteria have more tissue to infect, which is a deceptively selfish act. But the scientists suggest that figuring out how they do it could result in brand-new age-defying treatments.

Alchemy of Life

When leprosy affects the skin, eyes, and nerves, it results in impairment. Throughout time, individuals who were infected were avoided.

However, the bacterium that causes it, Mycobacterium leprae, has other peculiar characteristics that fascinate scientists, such as the capacity to engage in “biological alchemy,” changing one type of body tissue into another.

So scientists began studying armadillos, another species that contracts the illness.

Leprosy: Chronic Disease That Regenerates Organs

The armadillo is the only other known host for the leprosy bacterium

The US-based investigations demonstrated that the virus travels to the livers of armoured animals, where it performs a controlled hijacking of the organ to rewire it for its own purposes.

Prof. Anura Rambukkana of the University of Edinburgh’s centre for regenerative medicine told me, “It was entirely unexpected.”

The findings, published in Cell Reports Medicine, revealed a nearly doubling of the liver’s size.

A closer look revealed that the growth was both healthy and functional, complete with the typical array of blood vessels and bile ducts, contrary to what you may have anticipated as being defective or even cancerous.

“It’s really mind-blowing,” Prof Rambukkana said. I don’t know how they do that? No cell therapy can achieve that.”

Increase Rapidly

It appears that the liver’s developmental clock is being turned backward by the leprosy bug. Fully developed liver cells are metabolic workhorses that perform countless bodily functions.

However, the bacteria are regressing them to a stage where they can multiplicate quickly before reaching adulthood, like being teenagers.

Examining the activity of several regions of the cells’ DNA produced results that were more reminiscent of the liver’s early development in a fetus or a much younger animal.

“Natural Procedure”

But the specifics of how this is all taking place are still unclear.

According to Nobel Prize-winning research, it is conceivable to force the body’s cells back in time until they may again differentiate into any other sort of cell. However, doing so increases the likelihood that they will develop cancer.

Prof. Rambukkana told me that “the [leprosy] bugs employ various paths.” “Since they take longer to do it and it’s safer, this is a natural process.”

“Promising outcomes”

The idea is to utilize the method to restore livers in people awaiting liver transplants, or perhaps to undo some of the harm ageing has done to other body parts.

According to Prof. Rambukkana, the goal is to employ the same bacterial technique and creativity to create novel treatments for regeneration and repair.

If you can control it, you ought to be able to make the mechanism into a shot you take every three months or something. But none of these hypotheses have been proven.

University of Reading’s Dr. Darius Widera said: “Overall, the findings may open the door to novel therapeutic strategies for treating liver conditions, including cirrhosis.

“It is not apparent, however, whether or how these encouraging findings may be applied to the biology of the human liver given that the research was conducted using armadillos as model animals.

Additionally, as the bacteria used in this work are disease-causing, significant method modification would be needed before clinical translation.


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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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