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October 6, 2005

Liver failure patients get own stem cells

Imperial College London physicians say they've successfully treated patients suffering liver failure by using the patients' own bone marrow stem cells.

Unlike embryonic stem cells which require the destruction of human life, the doctors extracted the stem cells from the patients' blood and then, in turn, injected the cells into blood vessels connected to the liver.

Within two months, the liver function and general health of three of the five patients improved significantly, according to a report in New Scientist magazine. The two patients who did not respond showed no ill-effects from the treatment.

Researchers said the stem cells appeared to home in on damaged areas of the liver and make repairs, although the process involved is not yet fully understood.

The study was led by Dr. Nagy Habib, an Imperal College London surgeon.

Habib hopes to conduct a follow-up trial on 18 more liver patients, the Scotsman reported Wednesday.

Posted October 6, 2005 12:56 AM

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