Congratulations to Dr. Fumio Takei (Takei Lab) and Dr. Marco Marra (Marra Lab), for receiving a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Project Grant Program for the project titled, “Innate lymphoid cells in hepatitis and liver fibrosis.”

Summary: Fatty liver diseases, in which too much fat accumulates in the liver, affect one in four Canadians. If untreated, fatty liver progresses to hepatitis, liver fibrosis, cirrhosis (hardened liver) and liver failure. Chronic over consumption of alcohol and high fat diet are known causes of fatty liver diseases.

In their preliminary studies they have treated mice with a combination of alcohol in drinking water and high fat diet and found that the mice develop fatty liver first, followed by hepatitis and eventually liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. By testing various mutant mice that lack specific populations of immune cells, they have found that lymphocytes are not involved in the development of fatty liver but innate lymphocyte populations drive the progression of fatty liver to hepatitis and liver fibrosis. The goal of their proposed research is to further investigate those innate lymphocytes and find out how they drive hepatitis and fibrosis. They hope that the results obtained by this research will lead to new treatment to prevent liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.

The CIHR Project Grant Program is designed to capture ideas with the greatest potential to advance health-related fundamental or applied knowledge, health research, health care, health systems, and/or health outcomes. It supports research projects proposed and conducted by individual researchers or groups of researchers in all areas of health.

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