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Hospital claims stem cell therapy works

Chennai, Aug. 5: A city hospital claims to have cured 25 patients suffering from chronic liver failure through stem cell therapy. Doctors at Lifeline Hospitals in tie up with Nichi Centre for Regenerative medicine said autologus bone marrow stem cells were used to regenerate the liver of patients suffering from chronic liver failure caused by hepatitis or alcoholism.

As in any stem cell therapy, the bone marrow stem cells of the patient were taken and cultured in a laboratory to grow liver cells and then injected into the patients’ liver. Experts in the hospital claim that of the 25 patients who were treated, nine patients who were being followed up for a period of nine weeks have shown improvement. Their post treatment blood values of serum albumin, total protein and child pugh score as compared to pre treatment values showed drastic improvement.

Twenty-five patients (14 men and rest women) were in the age group of 45-65, of which 16 members suffered from crytogenic liver failure (reason for the failure not known) and others suffered liver failure due to alcoholism or hepatitis. Dr Rajkumar of Lifeline Hospitals said the other 16 cases were also being followed and were progressing similarly.

"We are planning to publish the study in a scientific journal very soon after obtaining the results in the other cases also. Although stem cell therapy has not been used here for acute liver failure, experts would explore such a possibility. Moreover this could reduce or even eliminate the need for live transplant in the future," he said.

If proved successful the transplant could overcome many difficulties faced in a liver transplant like finding a donor, taking immunosuppresants and lifelong treatment. "Considering the difficulties faced in India where liver transplants are difficult both medically and in finding donors, stem cells can emerge as an effective solution where millions suffer chronic liver failure," he added.

- Courtesy Deccan Chronicle, 06th Aug 2007 issue.
*"Nichi" stands for Japan and "In" stands for India. This institute started on an Indo-Japan collaboration now has spreaded further with global alliances
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