The use of stem cells to treat liver failure is not new. Animal models, as well as pilot clinical trials have demonstrated statistically significant improvement in liver enzyme values and overall clinical scores.
In a recent study (Pai et al. Autologous Infusion of Expanded Mobilized Adult Bone Marrow-Derived CD34+ Cells Into Patients With Alcoholic Liver Cirrhosis. Am J Gastroenterol 2008 Jun 30) a practical method of clinical stem cell therapy for liver failure was presented.
In a subject population of 9 victims suffering from alcohol associated liver cirrhosis autologous G-CSF mobilized and CD34 expanded stem cells were administered via the hepatic artery.
Statistically significant improvements in ALT, AST, and bilirubin were observed as early as 1-week post infusion and maintained for the observation period (12 weeks).
7 of 9 had improved Child Pugh Score.
5 of 9 had improvement in ascites.
No treatment associated adverse effects were seen.