Doctors in Britain have developed a pioneering treatment for liver disease that could save hundreds of lives a year and avoid the need for transplant surgery.The world’s first trial using liver stem cells will be conducted at London’s King’s College Hospital and will be headed by pediatric liver consultant Professor Anil Dhawan.
Eighteen British children suffering from rare and life threatening liver conditions will receive infusions of specially treated liver cells removed from the organs of deceased donors.
Doctors will trial the stem cell treatment on children with an inherited metabolic disorder that affects the liver called Crigler-Najjar syndrome.Children with this condition are unable to eliminate toxins from their bodies and therefore must undergo daily 12-hour exposure to special blue lights, just to survive.Without daily treatments, a child would suffer brain damage, muscle and nerve damage, and death.
The stem cell treatment will also be trialed on children with urea cycle disorders who are unable to process liver toxins because of a genetic defect.This condition can lead to brain damage and death without a special diet. Experts believe that up to 20 per cent of cot deaths may be due to undiagnosed urea cycle disorders.
According to Professor Dhawan, “If all goes well the children we are treating with the cells will show an improvement within a couple of months.We would expect those children to come off their medicines and therapy.It will mean the liver cells have done their job and corrected the defects that made them ill. Then we will have to see how long the effect lasts and whether we have to top up these children with further infusions. I am optimistic the treatment will work.”
Professor Max Malago, a liver transplant surgeon at London’s Royal Free Hospital, said, “There is enormous demand for donor livers at present which is impossible to meet. There are patients who are desperate to transplant but unfortunately not everyone can get an organ.If there was an alternative treatment to transplant where you could save the liver it would offer hope to patients who are at present dying waiting for an organ.”
This British trial reinforces the amazing promise that stem cells hold in treating a variety of diseases and conditions.Some conditions, such as joint, tendon and muscle injury, are treatable now with stem cells. Other conditions, such as ALS, diabetes, heart disease and MS, appear to be treatable, but widespread treatment is still in the near-future.
Dennis M. Lox, MD, has been sucessfully preforming stem cell therapy for several years. Dr. Lox is located in the Tampa bay area in Clearwater, Florida
Toread the British newspaper article on this, click here.
Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only and not for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical concern or issue, please consult with your physician.