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Reuters Health Information (2008-09-08): Stem cell transplant results encouraging in alcoholic cirrhosis


Stem cell transplant results encouraging in alcoholic cirrhosis

Last Updated: 2008-09-08 15:28:05 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Administering autologous expanded mobilized adult progenitor CD34+ cells into the hepatic artery of patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis (ALC) leads to considerable benefit, researchers report in the September issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

"We are encouraged that the majority of patients in this study experienced a significant improvement in their liver functions," senior investigator Dr. Nagy A. Habib told Reuters Health.

Dr. Habib of Imperial College, London, and colleagues studied nine ALC patients who had been abstinent for at least 6 months. The patients underwent granulocyte colony-stimulating factor mobilization and leukapheresis. Autologous CD34+ cells were then expanded in vitro by an average of 5 times and injected into the hepatic artery.

All patients tolerated the procedure well and over 12 weeks of follow-up there were significant decreases in serum bilirubin. A significant reduction in levels of alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase was seen 1 week after the transfusion and showed improvement through the study period.

Seven of the patients showed an improvement in Child-Pugh scores, and on imaging at 12 weeks, three patients showed a complete resolution of ascites and two had a significant reduction.

"This is an area of medicine where there is tremendous progress day by day," concluded Dr. Habib. "We hope that stem cell therapy will help many patients with liver disease."

Am J Gastroenterol 2008;103:1952-1958.

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