Usually the liver regenerates easily, but that doesn’t happen in most patients with chronic liver disease.
Many studies have shown that shortened telomere (the end of a chromosome) lengths are observed in the livers of
these patients. Studies in mice, in which the RNA component of the telomerase gene has been removed, show that
these animals have increased sensitivity to liver damage. The Geron Corporation plans to use a gene-based therapy
to deliver the telomerase gene into the liver to help it regenerate. An article in the February 18, 2000 issue of
Science showed that telomerase gene therapy prevents the onset of cirrhosis in mice. This approach is currently
under development for preclinical studies (