Stem cell treatment for alcoholics

(Stem Cells News image)

Of all the alcoholic liver disease patients thronging the out-patient departments of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), nearly 50% are from Punjab.

What draws them to this institute is the stem cell treatment offered to the severe alcoholic hepatitis that acts as a boon.

PGI is the only tertiary hospital in the region which caters to this end-stage liver disease from Punjab, Himachal, Haryana and Chandigarh.

The stem cell treatment reports 78% success in cases of severe alcoholic hepatitis. A report on the same had been published in the prestigious American journal of gastroenterology this month. Moreover, the stem cells induced in the study, reversed the damage caused to the liver.

“We had 46 patients whom we divided into a group of 23 each. All of them were severe alcoholics and suffered alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis.

While one group was injected with Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) which induced bone marrow and produced stem cells, others underwent treatment but were not given G-CSF,” informed Dr Virendra Singh, lead author of the study, department of hepatology, PGI.

G-CSF, is a growth factor that stimulates the bone marrow to make more white blood cells. The patients were given 10 shots of this over a period of five days.

These stem cells were left to proliferate inside the body, where they repair the damaged liver. “In conventional stem cell treatment, the bone marrow stem cells are removed from the body and allowed to multiply artificially. It is then injected. This is cumbersome and leads to bleeding in patients,” said Dr Virendra (…)


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