May 23, 2005

Using Patients' Own Stem Cells To Treat Liver

Another proof of how useful stem cells can be, that is --- adult stem cells.

Researchers have begun a pioneering trial using patients' own stem cells to treat their chronic liver disease. A team at London's Hammersmith Hospital is attempting to reverse cirrhosis of the liver by harnessing and enhancing the body's own repair mechanism. They are using adult stem cells extracted from patients' bone marrow to generate new tissue in damaged areas.

That's right, this is being done right now with adult stem cells (not embryos,) from the patient's own body --- not “in theory” not “within the next few years” --- now.

Professor Nagy Habib, head of liver surgery at Hammersmith, who is leading the research, is encouraged by the early results. He said: "The icing on the cake was that some of the blood results were already improved." He is now looking forward to the second phase of the trial this summer, which will see much larger preparations of stem cells injected into the livers of a greater number of patients, and is designed to test the treatment's ability to actually reverse disease.

There was some pretty heated talk about Embryonic Stem Cell Research during the US the Election, yet seems like these scientists are accomplishing exactly what some ESCR proponents claimed would be too hard to do with adult stem cells …

“I think it would be very exciting if it works because you are taking the patients' own cells, making them behave like a liver cell and then giving them back to the patient, so they treat themselves.”

Yes, that is pretty exciting. If you'd like to read some more about ESCR here are some resources from STR:

Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Means and Ends

Embryo Stem-Cell Research Help

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