Regulatory T-cell dysfunction in chronic liver disease: mechanistic insights and novel therapeutic strategies


  • Dr Niloufar Safinia

    Imperial College London

Project summary

Liver disease is the third most common cause of death in people aged under 65 in the UK. The progression of liver disease after damage from viruses, alcohol or fatty liver, culminates in the development of irreversible liver damage, known as cirrhosis. There is currently no therapy to stop or prevent this condition.

Cirrhosis is thought to occur due to defects in immune cells leading to persistent inflammation and damage. My research has shown that cells regulating the immune system are defective in patients with cirrhosis, which is associated with a dysfunction in antioxidant and metabolic pathways. I plan to investigate how the environment in the liver alters the function of these cells and the interaction of these dysfunctional cells with other immune cells. I will use animal models of liver damage to study whether modulation of these pathways, and subsequent reversal of this dysfunction, can halt or prevent liver damage.

My findings could uncover new therapeutic strategies to help prevent liver disease.