Edinburgh Cancer Research

Stuart Forbes (Affiliate)

Liver Regeneration and Cholangiocarcinoma

Professor Stuart Forbes - Professor of Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine. Director MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine.

Research in a Nutshell

The Forbes group has 3 linked programs of research:

(1) Basic biology of the HPC niche. This builds upon observations made by the group on the functional controls of the HPC niche biology in regeneration. The group is looking to (1) target these signals to improve endogenous regeneration in the severely damaged liver. (2) test whether HPCs can be isolated from untransplantable human liver and developed as a cell therapy.

(2) Cell therapy for liver regeneration.  The group are developing pre-clinical and clinical tools to stimulate liver regeneration and reduce scarring using macrophage cell therapy. The finding that bone marrow derived macrophages can promote liver regeneration and reduce scarring in pre-clinical models of cirrhosis is being tested as a “first in human study” of macrophage therapy for liver cirrhosis (phase 1 with phase 2 follow on).

(3) The role of aberrant regeneration and the niche in driving cholangiocarcinoma. The aims are to characterise pre-cancerous and cancerous niche in cholangiocarcinoma. We have described the critical role of macrophage derived Wnt in driving cholangiocarcinoma and have shown in pre-clinical models the efficacy of Wnt inhibiting drugs.

S.Forbes group


Stuart Forbes Chair in Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine, Consultant Hepatologist and Group Leader
Alexander Raven PhD student
Janet Man Senior research assistant
Philip Starkey Lewis Postdoc
Sofia Ferrera Gonzalez PhD student)
Wei-Yu Lu Research fellow
Eilidh Livingstone PhD student
Benjamin Dwyer Postdoc
John Hallett  Clinical research fellow/PhD student)




  • Dr Luke Boulter, MRC Human Genetics Unit, IGMM, University of Edinburgh
  • Prof Owen Sansom, The Beatson Insitute, Glasgow
  • Prof Tania Roskams, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Dr Tim Kendall, IGMM, University of Edinburgh

Partners and Funders

  • MRC

  • Wellcome
  • CRUK
  • AMMF The Cholangiocarcinoma Charity

Scientific Themes

Stem cells, regeneration, senescence, Wnt, Notch.

Tevhnology Expertise

Transgenic models of liver regeneration.