Tampa, Fla. (Jan. 10, 2011) Transplanting their own (autologous) bone marrow-derived stem cells into 48 patients with end-stage liver disease resulted in therapeutic benefit to a high number of the patients, report researchers publishing in the current issue of Cell Transplantation (19:11). Yet, the mechanism by which the infusion of CD34+ stem cells improves liver function remains elusive, they say.
The study, carried out by a team of researchers in California and in Egypt, is now freely available on-line at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct/.
According to the study's corresponding author, Dr. Mark A. Zern of the University of California Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA, patients with end-stage liver failure in Egypt have few treatment options but for transplantation. A shortage of donors and cost factors make that strategy unrealistic. Accordingly, this study sought to evaluate the safety and efficacy of transplanting autologous bone marrow-derived CD34+ stem cells in 48 patients, 36 of whom had chronic, end-stage hepatitis C-induced liver disease, and 12 with end-stage autoimmune liver disease.
"For all patients there was a statistically significant decrease in peritoneal cavity fluid, or 'ascites,'" said Dr. Zern. "There was also clinical and biochemical improvement in a large percentage of patients who received the transplantation."
The researchers reported that they obtained "reasonable numbers of CD34+ cells" that were then "amplified and partially differentiated into hepatocyte precursor cells."
"This enabled us to transplant as many as one billion of these cells per patient," explained Dr. Zern. "The finding of improvement in ascites in a significant number of patients is impressive and somewhat surprising, suggesting that cell transplantation might be clinically significant beyond the improvement in laboratory parameters."
|Contact: David Eve|
Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair