Could stem cells help heal damaged livers?
By Andy Coghlan The number of people with cirrhosis who need new livers is growing, but organs for transplantation are in short supply. Fortunately, a solution may lie within the patient’s own body. Nine Japanese people with cirrhosis have been given a pioneering treatment that uses the patient’s bone marrow cells, and the first results are encouraging. The procedure could potentially ease the symptoms of cirrhosis and make a liver transplant unnecessary. None of the patients was cured, but evidence from blood samples and liver scans suggested that their organs were functioning better six months after treatment, says Isao Sakaida,