A Temporary Liver, as Needed

Here is an interesting application of cell therapy, which demonstrates the point that an artificial replacement for an organ doesn't necessarily have to replicate the form and structure of that organ: "Eight-month-old Iyaad Syed now looks the picture of health - but six months ago he was close to death. A virus had damaged his liver causing it to fail. Instead of going on a waiting list for a transplant, doctors injected donor liver cells into his abdomen. These processed toxins and produced vital proteins - acting rather like a temporary liver. The cells were coated with a chemical found in algae which prevented them from being attacked by the immune system. After two weeks his own liver had begun to recover. ... The question now is whether the technique could be used to benefit other patients with acute liver failure. The team [is] urging caution - a large clinical trial is needed to test the effectiveness of the technique. ... The principle of this new technique is certainly ground-breaking and we would welcome the results of further clinical trials to see if it could become a standard treatment for both adults and children."

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15744176


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