Researchers from the University of Edinburgh working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Baton Rouge, Louisiana say they discovered that parasites associated with an ancient disease appear to be able to potentially help regenerate livers.
Leprosy, one of the world's oldest diseases, is associated with a bacteria that may have the ability to regenerate and grow tissue for the vital organ.
The scientists found that the parasites can possibly reprogram cells to increase the size of livers without causing tumors, scarring or damage, according to data published late in 2022.
The researchers found that animals who were inflected developed enlarged, but healthy, livers with the same important parts, including blood vessels, "functional units known as lobules" and bile ducts.
Armadillos resistant to the bacteria, and that were uninflected, appeared to have the same functional vital components.
The team studied the livers of 57 armadillos, which are a natural carrier of the leprosy parasite.
The team says they hope the discovery will help develop various medical interventions to help with aging and damaged livers in humans.