Appointment of Pau Sancho-Bru, Group leader
We want to understand the mechanisms for tissue repair and liver regeneration in order to develop new therapeutic strategies for liver disease

Current research

Problem

In advanced phases of liver disease, mechanisms for tissue repair and liver regeneration are compromised, resulting in organ dysfunction and, ultimately, in liver failure.

Which factors compromise hepatic repair? How is liver regeneration regulated? What do the cells do to maintain their characteristics and function? These are some of the questions that the group wants to answer in order to be able to develop new therapeutic strategies enabling improved regeneration and liver function in chronic liver disease.

Approach

Based on human samples, experimental models of liver disease, and in vitro systems with primary cells and stem cells, the group seeks to identify the factors responsible for impaired regeneration of the liver and the mechanisms that alter tissue repair. Within this context, it is particularly interested in studying cellular plasticity and maintaining the identity of liver cells in response to damage and disease, as well as in the mechanisms and factors that promote inflammation and hepatic fibrosis.

Impact

The group has described numerous key mechanisms and mediators in the progression of chronic liver disease and has highlighted their potential as therapeutic targets. One of its main findings have been how impaired regeneration of the liver promotes a proliferation of immature cells, which are associated with an increase in inflammation and a poor prognosis. In addition, it has developed, for the first time, a methodology for generating starved stem cells from IPS stem cells and has demonstrated the potential for in vitro modelling of liver fibrosis.