Vesta Therapeutics will research use of adult stem cells as a possible treatment for liver disease with funding from the National Institutes of Health.

The phase 1 small business innovation research grant was awarded by the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a division of NIH.

The amount of the grant was not disclosed.

Vesta hopes to develop an alternative treatment to liver transplants for liver diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis.

“A number of studies have demonstrated that adult stem cells from multiple tissues can improve in vivo regeneration of damaged organs, including the liver,” Vesta said in a statement.

Vesta said it has plans to conduct a preclinical study as the second phase of the project.

Vesta will be working with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of Louisiana State University on the project.