A development in the way scientists examine cells could lead to advances in liver treatment, according to new research.
The report, co-authored by Shu Chien and Dr David Brenner from the University of California, San Diego, showed how scientists can get a more complex idea of factors affecting cells by using a spotting pin to identify proteins.
Mr Chien commented that the technique allows scientists to recognise hundreds of different kinds of protein in liver cells, which means that they should be able to investigate the relationship between parts of cells affected by liver disease.
"In one step, we can look at the physical and chemical micro-environment of the cells," he said.
"Now we can look at the optimum condition that is best for the cells to proliferate and differentiate."
He also felt that this report showed how bioengineering and medicine can be used together, as the high-throughput technique used was originally devised for stem cell research.
A recent study at the UT Southwestern Medical Centre showed that the N-acetylcysteine is effective at treating non-acetaminophen acute liver failure as well as liver failure caused by acetaminophen poisoning.