Children suffering from a chronic liver disease which causes irreparable damage to the organ may get a new lease of life as doctors at AIIMS in New Delhi, India’s premier medical institute, have achieved initial success in their experiments with stem cells.
A team of five doctors at AIIMS tried stem cell treatment for liver repair in children suffering from ‘biliary atresia’ and saw improvement in the physical condition of the children. The team doctors — D K Gupta, Lalit Kumar, Shilpa Sharma, Sidharth Datta Gupta and Sujata Mohanty –were working on this experiment since 2005.
Comments by Dr D K Gupta, Professor and Head of the department, paediatric surgery, AIIMS:
We have tried stem cells in children suffering from biliary atresia. In some of children, these stem cells have regenerated as liver cells resulting in improvement in the physical condition of children. This is a positive beginning as liver is the most complex organ and is made up of large number of different cells. With bone marrow stem cells successfully regenerating into liver cells, we can say we have been able to locate the markers of these liver cells.
Posted in Childcare, Liver
Tagged biliary atresia, chronic liver disease, D K Gupta, Lalit Kumar, liver disease in children, Shilpa Sharma, Sidharth Datta Gupta, stem cell treatment, stem cell treatment for liver repair, Sujata Mohanty
Chinese herbal medicine has been used to treat the condition for hundreds of years and women are increasingly looking for non-drug treatments. One recent survey involving 39 trials — 36 in China, and one each in Taiwan, Japan and the Netherlands– has reported interesting findings.
Participants given herbal concoctions were prescribed herbs that regulated their ‘qi’ (energy) and blood, warmed their bodies and boosted their kidney and liver functions. Some of these include Chinese angelica root (danggui), Szechuan lovage root (chuanxiong), red peony root (chishao), white peony root (baishao), Chinese motherwort (yimucao), fennel fruit (huixiang), nut-grass rhizome (xiangfu), liquorice root (gancao) and cinnamon bark (rougui).
This Reuters report has more details.
The liver is known to be one of the few major organs able to regenerate itself when parts have been removed. With that as the basis, scientists believe they can encourage this natural tendency by inserting stem cells into the damaged livers of rodents. More specifically, they used Mesenchymal stem cells found in the bone marrow.
Scientists have discovered a new way of treating liver failure — the technique involves inserting stem cells into the damaged organ so that it is encouraged to repair itself and create new tissue.
“We have identified a non-hepatic source of cells that can easily be expanded to the scale required for clinical application,” Dr Martin Yarmush, who led the study published in the Public Library of Science journal.
According to the researchers, the treatment will allow patients to live long enough for a new organ to found and could even enable the liver to completely heal itself so a transplant is no longer needed. The demand for new organs is currently so high that many patients die on the waiting list or are taken off because their condition deteriorates to the extent that they would not survive the operation.
More details are available in this report by The Telegraph in London.