Centre for Regenerative Medicine

Stuart Forbes Research Group

Liver stem cells and regeneration

Our research concentrates on understanding how the liver regenerates in chronic disease and how this process becomes deranged in the development of liver cancer.

Professor Stuart Forbes

Centre Director

Contact details

Aims and areas of interest

By understanding what controls liver regeneration in chronic injury our group aims to be able to promote healthy liver regeneration and reduce the formation of liver cirrhosis and cancer. There are 3 linked programs of research:

  1. Basic biology of the hepatic progenitor cell niche
  2. Cell therapy for liver regeneration
  3. The Liver Cancer niche in cholangiocarcinoma.

More information

Liver disease is the 5th commonest cause of death in the UK and the deaths from cirrhosis are rapidly rising. Currently the only curative option for end-stage liver disease is liver transplantation. Donor organ availability cannot even meet current demand and many patients die whilst waiting for a suitable organ. Alternative therapeutic strategies are urgently required for the treatment of advanced liver disease.

The normal liver regenerates through division of mature hepatocytes. However, in chronic liver injury this capacity is lost. Fortunately we have a second tier of cells that can regenerate the liver- the Hepatic Progenitor Cells (HPCs or oval cells). These bipotential progenitor cells can give rise to both hepatocytes and biliary epithelium but may also be a potential source of liver cancer.

Macrophage Cell Therapy Clinical Trials

Prof Forbes and his team are currently developing a new macrophage cell therapy for liver cirrhosis.

Video: Potential cell therapy for liver cirrhosis - Safety clinical trial
Professor Stuart Forbes describes the first safety clinical trial of a new macrophage cell therapy for liver cirrhosis.

Clinical Trials at CRM

Related activities

Prof Stuart Forbes is also a member of the Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh and the NHS Scottish Liver Transplant Unit.

Centre for Inflammation Research

NHS Scottish Liver Transplant Unit

Group Members

Rhona Aird (Reseach Assistant)

Niya Aleksieva (PhD Student)

Candice Ashmore-Harris (Postdoc Research Fellow)

Paul Brennan (Clinical Research Fellow)

Jennifer Ann Cartwright (PhD Student)

Jennifer Cusiter (UKRMP ECE Hub Project Manager)

Benjamin Dwyer (Postdoc)

Lara Campana (Postdoc)

Hannah Esser (PhD student)

Marisa Ferreira (ECAT-Plus/Wellcome Trust PhD for Clinicians Training Fellow)

Sofia Ferreira Gonzalez (Postdoc)

Victoria Gadd (Postdoc)

Alison Glover (Research Coordinator)

Marieke Hoeve (Postgraduate Teaching & Funding Development Manager; Director of MSc by Research in Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Repair)

Janet Man (Senior research assistant)

Ian Smith (Research Assistant)

Philip Starkey Lewis (Postdoc)

Lisa Wotherspoon (Advanced Therapies Clinical Trial Co-ordinator)