Page last updated at 09:34 GMT, Monday, 1 June 2009 10:34 UK

Drug could reverse liver disease

There are hopes a blood pressure drug could reverse the effects of early-stage liver disease in some patients, and help them avoid a transplant.

During a clinical trail, researchers at Newcastle University gave Iosartan, normally prescribed for hypertension, to 14 people with Hepatitis C.

All the patients had liver scarring, but in half of them the scars shrank, allowing the organ to repair itself.

The findings are described as promising and further studies are planned.

These would involve patients with liver disease caused by obesity and then, to follow, alcohol, hereditary and autoimmune diseases.

Professor Derek Mann from Newcastle University said: "At the moment we have no proven effective way of treating people with chronic liver disease other than transplantation.

"This early stage trial has shown that we can shrink liver scarring in some patients and shows promise for a treatment that could make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of people."

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