A new type of cell has been discovered that can save thousands of lives. And these are not stem cells.

It would seem that after so many years of thoroughstudying human anatomy and physiology, nothing should remain in our bodies that would not be visible to medical scientists. However, researchers are constantly making new discoveries. For example, not so long ago, a group of scientists from King’s College London discovered a new cell type in the liver that has the properties of stem cells without being them.

How to open a new type of cells

Recently identified a new type of livercalled hepatobiliary hybrid precursors (HHyP). About their existence was known before. They, as a rule, are formed during the period of early fetal development, but before that it was believed that all these cells are modified into liver cells by the time of maturation and puberty, forming an organ. However, it turned out that it is not. According to the researchers, HHyP is stored in small quantities in adults and they are able to differentiate into hepatocytes and cholangiocytes (the two main types of human liver cells).

This is interesting: There will no longer be a shortage of donor-seekers.

Cells found by unicellularRNA sequencing. In simple terms, determining the sequence of the RNA cell chain. At a certain stage of the study of liver cells, scientists realized that the data obtained in some cases did not match the RNA of normal liver cells. Continuing the study, it turned out that the information obtained appeared to be inherent in HHyP cells, which may behave like stem cells, but they are not.

We first discovered that cells similar in stem properties could exist in an adult human liver, ”said lead author Tamir Rashid.
Today, the only way to treat severeliver disease remains an organ transplant, which, firstly, is not available to all patients, and secondly, it can lead to serious complications. The discovery of HHyP opens up fundamentally new approaches in the development of treatments.

What's next?

Now the team of scientists is only at the beginningplans to develop new methods for "growing" the liver in the near future. In addition, the “reprogramming” of cells to give them the desired properties is also considered a promising direction. In this way, it will be possible to create HHyP in the right amount for each patient.

Moreover, the presence of HHyP in the liver may indirectlytalk about the fact that these cells exist in other organs. And if so, in the future, doctors will be able to save more than one hundred human lives.

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