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Chronic liver disease: how could regenerative medicine help?

Chronic liver disease is the fifth biggest killer in the world. When a serious damage occurs, the liver loses the ability to repair itself which becomes a life-threatening condition. The only treatment currently available is a liver transplant. Would regenerative medicine be able to help?

liver cirrhosis causes and treatments by stem cellsThe liver is a multifunctional organ that plays a role in digestion, blood sugar control, blood clotting factors for healing, making amino acids, increasing red blood cell growth, fat and cholesterol transport and the removal of waste, especially toxic exposures and the metabolization of medications into their active ingredients.



Causes of Liver Disease:

cirrhosis of liver signsCirrhosis is a term that describes permanent scarring of the liver. Normal liver cells are replaced by scar tissue that cannot perform healthy liver function.

Acute liver failure may be life threatening and at one time it was deemed non reversible; however, stem cell regeneration has proven most effective.

The majority of the liver (80 %) is made up of liver cells called hepatocytes. These cells have an average lifespan of 150 days, which means that the liver is constantly renewing itself under normal conditions. It is the only organ in the body that can easily replace damaged cells, but if enough cells are lost, the liver may not be able to meet the needs of the body that leads to liver failure.

liver cirrhosis symptomsThe liver is a regenerative organ, but it is limited in this ability depending on the energy reserve needed to heal and the host of responsibilities that must be attended to daily regardless of this central organ's ability to keep up the pace.

Liver disease can progress to cirrhosis and liver failure. Associated complications include increased risk of bleeding and infection, malnutrition and weight loss, decreased cognitive function over time and an increased risk of cancer.

Reinforcing therapies can transfer us from a condition of day-to-day survival to ones in which we feel a better quality of life.

Treatment of liver options

Although the liver can be recovered, there are no warning signs it is failing until it is too late. Once the line is crossed between the chronic liver disease and the final stage or liver failure, there are fewer options. Up to now, there is no "liver dialysis" that can rehabilitate liver function in the way that kidney failure is treated. Transplantation is currently the only effective treatment for liver failure, but it has many drawbacks, including the risk of rejection, risks associated with surgery, and a shortage of donors. It is estimated that for every donor organ there are 30 patients on a waiting list, and many people die from end-stage liver disease waiting for a donor organ.

Although dozens of patients with acute liver failure have received hepatocyte transplants from cadaveric donors, with some improvement in liver function, the effects were short lived and there was no overall survival benefit. The major challenges with this approach – shortage of cadaveric donors and immune suppression of patients – are essentially the same as for whole organ transplants.

How Stem Cells can help in liver disease treatment?

As far back as 2000, researchers showed that hepatocytes could grow in the body on non-liver cell sources. This phenomenon is called transdifferentiation. Today, autologous (from the patient) adipose tissue stem cells are the only stem cells that have been used clinically for treating liver disease. The major advantage with using these cells is that because they come from the patient, there is no risk of rejection when they are transplanted back. The stem cells are transdifferentiating into hepatocytes as as well as producing soluble factors that promote regeneration and repair. There is also the possibility that the stem cells may be fusing with resident hepatocytes to direct their regeneration.

liver cirrhosis swiss medica stem cells clinic treatment

Mesenchymal stem cells

Mesenchymal stem cells are found throughout the adult body in tissues such as bone, muscle, cartilage and fat.

liver cirrhosis treatment by stem cellsMesenchymal stem cells are among the most 'multipotent' stem cells that remain in our bodies after birth. This means that they are still able to make a variety of different cell types.

Many trials have shown that patients with liver cirrhosis have benefitted from autologous adipose tissue derived mesenchymal stem cells. We have proven results reversing the effects of hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver damage due to chemo and other drug therapies.




Advantages of Stem Cell therapy in Swiss Medica clinics for liver disease:

  1. Side effects and rejection free (use the patient's very own stem cells from their abdomen)
  2. Avoidance of any allergic and immune reactions (own cells suit chromosomal and genetic structure)
  3. Does not require general anesthesia
  4. No risk of contamination by transmissible diseases
  5. No oncological complication as adult stem cells in the comparison with embryonic cells are rather mature
  6. Small quantity of fat tissue is needed (that is why after activation process the stem cells can be at once injected to patient without necessity of growing them on substances. Embryonic stem cells are grown during several months)
  7. The period of time between getting lipoaspirate and injection of the activated stem cells is only a few hours
  8. Adipose tissue stem cells are easily accessible and yielding up to ten times more stem cells than patient‖s bone marrow
liver cirrhosis treatment

In Swiss Medica Clinic we deliver treatment with proven results supported by the assistance of highly qualified professionals who realize the importance of personalized care, quality and confidence and that leads to top standards of treatment.

Swiss Medica Clinic is an excellent centre that offers patients the most innovative therapies. In principle in our medical centres we use the unique technology of application of autologous photo activated stem cells previously extracted from fat cells using mini liposuction. The highest standards of treatment and investigative research are upheld at all times.



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