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.
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:
- Basic biology of the hepatic progenitor cell niche
- Cell therapy for liver regeneration
- The Liver Cancer niche in cholangiocarcinoma.
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.
Prof Stuart Forbes is also a member of the Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh and the NHS Scottish Liver Transplant Unit.
Rhona Aird (Reseach Assistant)
Niya Aleksieva (PhD Student)
Jennifer Ann Cartwright (PhD Student)
Jennifer Cusiter (UKRMP ECE Hub Project Manager)
Benjamin Dwyer (Postdoc)
Lara Campana (Postdoc)
Hannah Esser (PhD student)
Victoria Gadd (Postdoc)
Alison Glover (Research Coordinator)
Sofia Ferrera Gonzalez (Postdoc)
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)
Debbie Troland (Clinical Research Fellow)
Lisa Wotherspoon (Advanced Therapies Clinical Trial Co-ordinator)
- Prof John Iredale, Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh
- 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 Ken Simpson, School of Clinical Sciences, University of Edinburgh
- Dr Tim Kendall, Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh