The findings of a recently published study reports on the potential hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) have to be an alternative to hepatocyte or liver transplantation for liver disease.
One of the researchers from a team in Edinburgh, Professor Stuart Forbes, explains that hepatocytes and cholangiocytes have the ability to divide and self-renew following liver injury. However, following liver injury they lose the ability to do so and become senescent.
For the first time, hepatic progenitor cells (HCPs), i.e. liver stem cells, were transplanted in living animals, adult mice, with severe liver damage, to assess the impact on liver restoration. The HCPs transplant resulted in significant restoration of liver parenchyma and regenerated hepatocytes and biliary epithelia. If human stem cells behave similarly to mice cells, then transplanted HCPs could become a potential future alternative to hepatocyte or liver transplantation for liver disease.
Link to the actual study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26192438
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-33610569 (picture taken from this article)