Essays on Science and SocietyREGENERATIVE MEDICINE

Building better bile ducts

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Science  09 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6380, pp. 1113
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat0964


The bile ducts form a network of tubes within the liver and transfer bile produced in the liver to the bowel. In biliary disorders, this transport system fails, leading to the accumulation of toxic bile in the liver, damage, and permanent scarring (cirrhosis), which can ultimately be treated only through liver transplantation. Indeed, bile duct diseases (cholangiopathies) are the leading disorder treated (70%) by pediatric liver transplantation and account for a third of adult transplanted livers.