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Perth researchers have found the answer to liver transplants

18 October, 2006

Two medical researchers from Perth have returned home after telling the world’s leading scientists at a USA conference of their work that could potentially end the need for liver transplants.

Janina Tirnitz-Parker and Joanne Tonkin from the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) were selected to present their research findings on liver stem cell biology at an international conference on ‘Liver Growth, Development & Disease’.

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) conference was held in Colorado, USA and was attended by international experts in the field of liver research.

Tonkin said the pair was thrilled when they heard of their selection by the conference committee that gave them a chance to promote their work.

“It was a great experience for Janina and I to be a part of such a prestigious conference and we had the chance to meet and network with so many of our peers and fellow researchers from across the world,” she said.

“At the conference we heard about some amazing discoveries that we can make use of in our own work, which aims to make liver transplants a thing of the past by developing ways to replace damaged cells with healthy ones, instead of transplanting whole organs.”

After the conference, the pair extended their travels to include Bath in England, where they met colleagues investigating organ restoration at the Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Bath.

“The Bath team is looking into ways of converting liver cells to pancreas cells and the reverse. Their work goes hand in hand with our own, so we are now sharing and exchanging materials and findings between our two laboratories,” Tonkin said.

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