Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Immune System Modulation Can Halt Liver Failure In Animals

Date:
October 1, 2007
Source:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Summary:
Researchers have a developed a totally new approach to treating liver failure -- manipulating the immune response. If the results of the animal study can be applied in human patients, the approach may be able to keep patients alive until donor organs become available or to support liver function until the organ can regenerate itself, eliminating the need for a transplant.

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers have a developed a totally new approach to treating liver failure -- manipulating the immune response. If the results of the animal study can be applied in human patients, the approach may be able to keep patients alive until donor organs become available or to support liver function until the organ can regenerate itself, eliminating the need for a transplant.

Related Articles


"We have identified a non-hepatic source of cells that can easily be expanded to the scale required for clinical application," says Martin Yarmush, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Engineering in Medicine at MGH, the paper's senior author. He also is the Helen Andrus Benedict Professor of Surgery and Bioengineering in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology (HST) and a senior scientific staff member at the Boston Shriners Burns Hospital.

The liver is one of the few major organs that is able to regenerate itself. But when the organ is damaged by diseases like chronic hepatitis, long-term alcohol consumption, or other causes, ongoing inflammation can increase cell death and suppress the natural regenerative process. The only current treatment for end-stage liver failure is transplantation, which is limited by the organ supply and requires long-term immunosuppressive treatment. While external liver assist devices have successfully supported some patients, such machines require a supply of preferably human liver cells, which have been difficult to acquire and expand.

For their investigation, the MGH research team used mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) -- cells from the bone marrow that develop into tissues supporting blood cell development in the marrow cavity. Previous research has shown that MSCs are able to inhibit several immune system activities. A supply of MSCs can be extracted from a patient's own marrow and expanded to levels that could be therapeutically useful. To evaluate the ability of human MSCs to treat organ failure involving inflammatory activity, the investigators tested several ways of using the cells to treat rats in which liver failure had been induced.

Several approaches to administering MSCs reduced the biological signs of liver failure and improved the animals' survival. Although simply transplanting MSCs was not effective, two methods of delivering molecules secreted by the cells lessened inflammation within the liver and halted cell death. Cycling the blood of rats with liver failure through an external bioreactor containing MSCs also greatly reduced the metabolic signs of liver failure in the animals. Even more significantly, 71 percent of the rats treated with the MSC-seeded bioreactor survived, while only 14 percent of those in a control group were alive one week later.

"One essential function of MSCs in the bone marrow is to secrete molecules that promote the growth and maturation of blood cells," say co-lead author Biju Parekkadan, an HST graduate student working in Yarmush's lab. "We are now finding that these same molecules can be used as potent immunotherapeutics and envision a multi-tiered treatment of liver failure based on this work. A patient presenting with liver failure could first be treated with an intravenous injection of an 'off-the-shelf' drug containing MSC-produced factors in an effort to halt cell damage and allow the organ to regenerate. If that is not effective, an MSC-based support device could be used as a bridge to transplantation or even as a long-term treatment."

The researchers note that exactly how MSC-produced molecules inhibit the movement of immune cells into a damaged organ is not yet known and is currently under investigation. They also hope to examine the possibility of combining both MSCs and liver cells in a potential support device and to test the potential of MSCs to treat other immunological diseases.

Additional co-authors of the PLOS ONE paper -- all investigators in the MGH Center for Engineering in Medicine -- are co-lead authors Daan van Poll, MD, and Kazuhiro Saganuma, MD; and co-authors Edward Carter, Francois Berthiaume, PhD, and Arno Tilles, MD. The work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Shriners Hospitals for Children, the National Science Foundation and the Michael van Vlooten Foundation.

The findings are being reported in the journal PLoS One.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts General Hospital. "Immune System Modulation Can Halt Liver Failure In Animals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070926191536.htm>.
Massachusetts General Hospital. (2007, October 1). Immune System Modulation Can Halt Liver Failure In Animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070926191536.htm
Massachusetts General Hospital. "Immune System Modulation Can Halt Liver Failure In Animals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070926191536.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins