Liver Transplant News
'could be repaired using adult stem cells'
| ANI – Thu, May 12, 2011
Washington, May 12 (ANI): For the first time, researchers have found a
way to repair damaged livers using adult stem cells.
The finding by
Johns Hopkins researchers could one day be used as an alternative to liver
transplant in patients with serious liver diseases, bypassing long waiting
lists for organs and concerns about immune system rejection of the donated
They have demonstrated that human liver cells taken from
adult stem cells - known as induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) - coaxed
into an embryonic state can engraft and begin regenerating liver tissue in
mice with chronic liver damage.
"Our findings provide a foundation
for producing functional liver cells for patients who suffer liver diseases
and are in need of transplantation," said Yoon-Young Jang, assistant
professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.
"iPSC-derived liver cells not only can be generated in large amounts, but
also can be tailored to each patient, preventing immune-rejection problems
associated with liver transplants from unmatched donors or embryonic stem
cells," she added.
iPSCs are made from adult cells that have been
genetically reprogrammed to revert to an embryonic stem cell-like state,
with the ability to transform into different cell types.
can be generated from various tissues, including skin, blood and liver
Although the liver can regenerate in the body, end-stage liver
failure caused by diseases like cirrhosis and cancers eventually destroy the
liver's regenerative ability, said Jang.
Currently, the only option
for those patients is to receive a liver organ or liver cell transplant, a
supply problem given the severe shortage of donor liver tissue for
In addition, mature liver cells and adult liver
stem cells are difficult to isolate or grow in the laboratory, said Jang.
By contrast, iPSCs can be made from a tiny amount of many kinds of
tissue; and the embryonic stem-like iPSCs can grow in laboratory cultures
For the study, Jang and colleagues generated human
iPSCs from a variety of adult human cells, including liver cells,
fibroblasts (connective tissue cells), bone marrow stem cells and skin
They found that though the iPSCs overall were molecularly
similar to each other and to embryonic stem cells, they retained a distinct
molecular 'signature' inherited from the cell of origin.
chemically induced the iPSCs to differentiate first into immature and then
more mature liver cell types. Regardless of their origin, the different iPSC
lines all showed the same ability to develop into liver cells.
mice with humanlike liver cirrhosis, the researchers then injected the
animals with either 2 million human iPSC-derived liver cells or with normal
human liver cells.
They discovered that the iPSC-derived liver cells
engrafted to the mouse liver with an efficiency of eight to 15 percent, a
rate similar to the engraftment rate for adult human liver cells at 11
The study is published in the May 11 issue of the journal
Science Translational Medicine. (ANI)
Girl cured by using
her 'own stem cells'
Washington, May 10 :
A surgeon has used stem cell technology to cure a girl.
Professor Michael Olausson was able to create a new connection with the aid
of a blood vessel between the liver and the intestines, necessary to cure
The girl developed during her first year of life a blood
clot in the blood vessel that leads blood from the intestines to the liver.
This introduced the risk that she would experience life-threatening
internal bleeding. The condition can be cured if it is possible to direct
the blood along the correct path, back into the liver.
cases, the surgery can be performed using blood vessels from other parts of
the patient''s body, but a liver transplant may be necessary if the surgery
is unsuccessful due to a lack of sufficient blood vessels. A liver
transplant will involve subsequent lifelong treatment with immunosuppressive
Blood vessels from a dead donor were used in the present case.
The vessel was then chemically treated to remove all cells RNA and DNA. This
left just the supporting tissue. Stem cells were then obtained from the
girl''s bone marrow and these were added to the supporting tissue. A new
blood vessel grew in just under four weeks. This was used during the surgery
in order to create the new connection between the liver and the intestines,
necessary to cure the girl.
"We carried out the surgery over three
months ago now, and the result was very good, with no serious complications.
To our knowledge this is the first procedure of this type in the world, said
Michael Olausson at the Transplant Centre, Sahlgrenska University Hospital
and professor at the Sahlgrenska Academy.
“The girl is in good
health, and we believe that her prognosis is very good. Since the vessel was
created with the girl''s own stem cells, she does not need to take drugs to
prevent rejection", added Olausson.
The procedure shows that it is
possible to create new blood vessels from stem cells, using a previous blood
vessel as a template. This can lead to the condition that the girl suffered
from being treated more easily, and with less risk for the patient.
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