Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Stem cell breakthrough to treat liver damage
Life Style Extra (UK) ^ | 10/5/05

Posted on 10/08/2005 11:55:08 AM PDT by LibWhacker

LIFE STYLE EXTRA (UK) - British scientists have successfully repaired patients' damaged livers by using bone marrow stem cells from their own blood.

The victim is first injected with a drug which stimulates their bone marrow to produce extra stem cells. The stem cells are then harvested from the blood and injected into a vein or artery leading directly to the liver.

Although the researchers are unsure what the cells then do they seem to help repair any liver damage, reports New Scientist.

The finding raises the prospect of regenerating diseased livers and avoid problems with current liver transplants where the patient's body rejects the foreign organ.

Stem cells are special cells which have not yet become totally specialised to one role in the body. The techniques developed to isolate these cells are regarded as being among the most important recent scientific discoveries.

To obtain the cells the patient is given an injection of a chemical called GCSF (granulocyte colony stimulating factor) which stimulates their bone marrow to produce extra stem cells.

After five days on the drug the patient’s blood is screened for cells bearing the surface protein CD34 which marks them out as stem cells.

These are then extracted from the blood, concentrated and injected into the patient’s portal vein or hepatic artery - both of which feed blood directly to the liver.

No one is sure exactly where these cells go or what they do - but they appear to home in on and help repair any liver damage.

The liver function and general health of three out of five patients given the treatment improved significantly within two months of treatment, according to liver surgeon Nagy Habib of Imperial College London, who heads the team conducting the trial.

He presented the findings at a seminar in London hosted by the London Regenerative Medicine Network. The two patients whose health did not improve showed no ill effects from the treatment.

One patient in his early 60s had a chronic condition called primary sclerosing cholangitis which progressively damages the liver’s bile ducts.

"At the outset he had jaundice, was vomiting blood and had ascites – swelling caused by fluid around the liver," says Mr Habib.

Two months later his jaundice had disappeared while levels of albumin – a marker of healthy liver function – rose to normal. Magnetic resonance scans showed the swelling had also gone down.

Mr Habib’s team are hopeful they will gain approval to conduct a follow-up trial on 18 more people with liver disease.

This time Mr Habib hopes to refine the technique by isolating specialised stem cells he calls "livercytes" and multiplying them outside the body for about two weeks before re-injecting them.

An added benefit of the treatment is the stem cells can be harvested from the blood rather than from bone marrow - which is a painful procedure.

Other researchers in Japan are close to publishing the results of a similar study on 10 patients using stem cells to treat liver failure - but their technique involves extracting the cells directly from the bone marrow.

Adult stem cells offer great promise in medicine as they may generate the full spectrum of cell types needed to repair a damaged organ.

Using adult stem cells will also avoid the ethical problems associated with even earlier cell types. Embryonic stem cells can be made to develop into any cell type in the body - they would offer the ultimate flexibility.

But their only source is from aborted tissue or discarded test-tube embryos - and several campaign groups have vowed to fight any law change permitting the widespread harvesting of stem cells in these areas.

About 5,000 people in the UK are awaiting organ transplants - and for many an organ will almost certainly not be found in time. Patients will inevitably die waiting for a suitable donor


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: breakthrough; cd34; cell; damage; liver; medical; stem; stemcells

1 posted on 10/08/2005 11:55:11 AM PDT by LibWhacker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

Another medical miracle NOT brought to you by embryonic stem cell research.


2 posted on 10/08/2005 11:57:31 AM PDT by Crush T Velour
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker
The victim is first injected with a drug which stimulates their bone marrow to produce extra stem cells. The stem cells are then harvested from the blood and injected into a vein or artery leading directly to the liver.

No babies were killed. The "smart people" aren't going to like that.

3 posted on 10/08/2005 11:58:18 AM PDT by ElkGroveDan (California bashers will be called out)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

This could be even better than embryonic stem cells if this is successful. Since the cells are coming from the patient, there may be less of a chance of rejection over the long run. Honestly, I don't know since I haven't read any of the research, but it would seem plausible. I still have much hope for stem cells from fat. If that works out, then when my wife tells me to go get exercise, I can say that I'm am simply building up a good store of stem cell material, just in case:)


4 posted on 10/08/2005 12:06:17 PM PDT by JayB
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry; b_sharp; neutrality; anguish; SeaLion; Fractal Trader; grjr21; bitt; KevinDavis; ...
FutureTechPing!
An emergent technologies list covering biomedical
research, fusion power, nanotech, AI robotics, and
other related fields. FReepmail to join or drop.

5 posted on 10/08/2005 12:15:00 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

Wow! This sounds like a great medical breakthrough! Praise the Lord!


6 posted on 10/08/2005 12:29:18 PM PDT by eccentric (a.k.a. baldwidow)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


7 posted on 10/08/2005 12:30:06 PM PDT by Aetius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: AntiGuv
The first thing that occurred to me was how does that address the damage resulting from AFTER the liver is scarred, so I dug deeper...
Stem cells and the liver Investigation of bone marrow stem cells in liver regeneration and fibrosis. We are developing the use of bone marrow derived hepatocytes to express anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-tumour genes in the diseased liver to prevent fibrosis, liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma, initially in murine transgenic models and then in clinical studies.
Source: Imperial College London
8 posted on 10/08/2005 12:31:50 PM PDT by Solamente
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: eccentric; All
Yep, I'm floored by the implications. Sure hope it's all true.

What's so special about the liver, anyway? Why could this not be done with every organ, or even the entire body... Just flood the body with stem cells and... Presto!... We're all young again. Nawww, can't be that simple. :-(

9 posted on 10/08/2005 12:40:59 PM PDT by LibWhacker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker
The liver is pretty special anyway. A person can donate part of his liver to someone else and both half will regrow (or something like that). Parents sometime donate a part of their liver to their own child.

May God bless these scientists/doctors and help them to learn more.

10 posted on 10/08/2005 1:10:21 PM PDT by eccentric (a.k.a. baldwidow)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Solamente

Hepatocellular carcinoma is a nasty, nasty thing. This sounds wonderful. Wish they'd done it years ago.


11 posted on 10/08/2005 1:18:20 PM PDT by knak (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

"Stem cell breakthrough to treat liver damage"

Now Ted Kenedy will live forever.


12 posted on 10/08/2005 2:15:28 PM PDT by Grig
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LibWhacker

This development is not too surprising...the liver is an
organ that regenerates all the time....there are always
molecules running around it that start regeneration processes...
The kicker here is that the "stem cell" can be "convinced" to become a liver cell or function like on...
Would like to see if the fibrosis, and general congestion of
the liver could be reversed....like if the blood would flow
easier through it....
Just another step in the understanding of how incredibly complex biological systems (feedback, regeneration, etc) are...


13 posted on 10/08/2005 3:05:10 PM PDT by Getready ((fear not...))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Grig
Now Ted Kenedy will live forever.

Nooooooooooo!!!!!!!!

14 posted on 10/08/2005 3:08:01 PM PDT by NeoCaveman (trust but verify)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson