|China's scientists generate liver cells from skin|
A team of scientists in China has found a way to restore damaged livers using adult skin stem cells.
The technique raises the possibility of what one liver specialist is calling the "Holy Grail" - that people now needing liver transplants could be simply treated with an injection of their own cells.
Researchers spent three years on the study in which they took skin cells from mice to reproduce fully functional liver cells.
The results, being published in the Journal of Nature today, show the mice were able to live healthy lives.
Professor Geoff McCaughan, the head of the Liver Research Program at the Centenary Research Institute at the University of Sydney, is excited by the Chinese team's work.
He has worked nationally and internationally in the field of liver transplants for 25 years and says the findings could have dramatic ramifications.
Every year, around 200 Australians have a liver transplant.