Liver Disease

Liver disease is characterized by damage to the liver impeding liver function. Symptoms of liver disease vary, but may include abdominal pain, jaundice, weight loss, ascites (fluid retention) and confusion.

There are many different causes of liver disease, but among the most common are hepatitis and alcoholism. Liver disease is typically divided into 4 stages with progressing fibrotic (scarring) changes with the most severe end stage disease being called cirrhosis.

Conventional treatment for liver disease includes antiviral medication, steroids, lactulose, paracentesis, and transplant.

Stem cell research for liver disease is focused on improving liver function to decrease the amount of toxins that build up in the body and improve the quality of life for patients.

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The most current research regarding stem cells and Liver Disease is given below:

Human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells improve liver function and ascites in decompensated liver cirrhosis patients.
Zhang Z1, Lin H, Shi M, Xu R, Fu J, Lv J, Chen L, Lv S, Li Y, Yu S, Geng H, Jin L, Lau GK, Wang FS.

Abstract: Decompensated liver cirrhosis (LC), a life-threatening complication of chronic liver disease, is one of the major indications for liver transplantation. Recently, mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transfusion has been shown to lead to the regression of liver fibrosis in mice and humans. This study examined the safety and efficacy of umbilical cord-derived MSC (UC-MSC) in patients with decompensated LC. A total of 45 chronic hepatitis B patients with decompensated LC, including 30 patients receiving UC-MSC transfusion, and 15 patients receiving saline as the control, were recruited; clinical parameters were detected during a 1-year follow-up period. No significant side-effects and complications were observed in either group. There was a significant reduction in the volume of ascites in patients treated with UC-MSC transfusion compared with controls (P < 0.05). UC-MSC therapy also significantly improved liver function, as indicated by the increase of serum albumin levels, decrease in total serum bilirubin levels, and decrease in the sodium model for end-stage liver disease scores. UC-MSC transfusion is clinically safe and could improve liver function and reduce ascites in patients with decompensated LC. UC-MSC transfusion, therefore, might present a novel therapeutic approach for patients with decompensated LC.


Umbilical cord blood stem cells transplantation as an adjunctive treatment strategy for liver cirrhosis in Chinese population: a meta-analysis of effectiveness and safety
Huimin Tao, Yafeng Li, Tingting Wang, and Changhui Zhou

Abstract: The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of umbilical cord blood stem cells (USCs) transplantation combined with routine supportive therapy (RST) for liver cirrhosis (LC).