In a stem cell research trial that isn’t getting enough news, liver patients are now being treated with their own Adult Stem Cells at Hammersmith Hospital in London, England. They have treated more than 30 patients now with “good results.” This is good news for those liver patients facing a transplant (and death).
I covered this stem cell story back in September 2008, and since then it seems they have treated more liver patients with their own stem cells with more good results. This excerpt is from the most recent stem cell article:
The stem cells help to grow new liver cells so that a damaged liver can begin to function normally again.
The team, which is based at London’s Hammersmith Hospital, has used the technique on around 30 patients so far with good results. They hope the treatment will become mainstream within three to five years.
It involves taking blood from patients, removing stem cells that circulate in the bloodstream and multiplying them in a laboratory. They are infused back into the liver via a main artery where they continue to multiply as liver cells.
The technique, which is undergoing trials, could revolutionise treatment of patients with liver failure. At present there is no method of keeping them alive as there is with kidney disease.
The Original Is Always Better Than the Sequel
However, the original post back in September 2008, had more details about this new stem cell treatment:
Administering autologous expanded mobilized adult progenitor CD34+ cells into the hepatic artery of patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis (ALC) leads to considerable benefit, researchers report in the September issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
“We are encouraged that the majority of patients in this study experienced a significant improvement in their liver functions,” senior investigator Dr. Nagy A. Habib told Reuters Health.
Dr. Habib of Imperial College, London, and colleagues studied nine ALC patients who had been abstinent for at least 6 months. The patients underwent granulocyte colony-stimulating factor mobilization and leukapheresis. Autologous CD34+ cells were then expanded in vitro by an average of 5 times and injected into the hepatic artery.
All patients tolerated the procedure well and over 12 weeks of follow-up there were significant decreases in serum bilirubin. A significant reduction in levels of alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase was seen 1 week after the transfusion and showed improvement through the study period.
Seven of the patients showed an improvement in Child-Pugh scores, and on imaging at 12 weeks, three patients showed a complete resolution of ascites and two had a significant reduction.
Stem Cell Therapy for Liver- Faster Please
This is fantastic news for cirrhosis patients, as well as Hepatitis C patients. However, once again, the stem cell therapy isn’t getting to the patient fast enough. The stem cell research trial seems to have been going on for more than 1 year, yet only 30 liver patients have been treated. Think about all those liver patients who can probably be improved by this and safe as well- nothing to lose.
(original post by Don Margolis)