Nov. 15, 2004 Scientists believe it may be possible to use stem cell therapy to help patients with chronic liver failure.
The team from Imperial College London and Hammersmith Hospital believe that by injecting patients with their own stem cells their liver function may improve.
By injecting the patient's own stem cells, or blood derived stem cells, directly into the bloodstream, the researchers hope they may be able to improve the function of the liver by getting the stem cells to repopulate the liver. In patients with chronic liver failure, the liver has lost cells reducing the effectiveness of the liver, and leading to disease and ill health.
Professor Nagy Habib, from Imperial College London and Hammersmith Hospital, and trial leader comments: "Although this is still very early days for the trial, it could be a first step to providing a new treatment option for those suffering from chronic liver failure."
The researchers are currently looking for patients suffering from chronic liver failure to take part in the trial. This will involve 13 hospital visits over a period of two months for various procedures, including scans and a procedure called leukapheris.
Leukapheris is a procedure in which blood is taken from the patient, and separated into its component parts. The white blood cells are taken and the stem cells separated from them. The red blood cells are then returned to the body through the arm, while the stem cells are injected into the hepatic artery, an artery in the liver.
Patients will have to visit the hospital every two weeks to test the function of their liver, kidneys and how well the blood is clotting.
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