Liver Cirrhosis And Stem Cell Treatment

The liver is one of the vital organs of the body. It plays a crucial role in many bodily functions. Cirrhosis is a chronic progressive disorder that affects the structure and function of the liver, eventually leading to serious, life-threatening complications, including liver cancer and heart failure.

Currently, there is no cure for cirrhosis. However, treatment with liver stem cells is expected to restore liver function and improve the prognosis of this condition.

This article provides information on the current approaches to the treatment of cirrhosis and evaluates how liver stem cell therapy can help manage this condition.

Liver Cirrhosis And Stem Cell Treatment
Stages of Liver Damage

What Is Liver Cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis is a chronic disease that occurs when healthy cells in the liver are replaced by inflamed or scarred cells, due to which the functions of this organ are significantly disrupted.

The liver regulates hundreds of bodily functions, including maintaining energy levels, detoxification, metabolism of fats, blood production, regulation of blood clotting, and production of amino acids.

The development of cirrhosis affects liver functions, due to which the patient may develop serious complications, such as congestive cardiac failure, protein-energy malnutrition, clotting disorders, or liver cancer.

Liver stem cell treatment is expected to help slow down pathogenesis by replacing the inflamed and damaged cells with new healthy cells.

What are the Causes of Cirrhosis?

Some common causes of cirrhosis of the liver are:

  • Genetic diseases
  • Chronic alcohol abuse
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Infection due to hepatitis B or C virus
  • Exposure to toxic metals, such as mercury or lead 

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Liver Cirrhosis And Stem Cell Treatment
Dr. Aleksandra Fetyukhina, MD

Medical Advisor, Swiss Medica doctor

What are the Symptoms of Cirrhosis?

The diagnosis of cirrhosis is often delayed due to the absence of specific symptoms in initial stages.

However, as the scar tissues accumulate, the ability of the hepatic cells to function correctly is severely affected. Once these changes develop, patients may develop the following symptoms:

  • Fluid build-up in ankles, feet, and legs
  • Jaundice (yellowing discoloration of the skin, white of the eyes, and nails)
  • Loss of mass in the body
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Bleeding gums
  • Dizziness
  • Increased susceptibility to bruising
  • Hair loss
  • Recurrent fever
  • Increased risk of infections
  • Breathing difficulty

Stem cell treatment for liver cirrhosis might help to relieve these symptoms and lower the risk of complications.

The Liver Functions

Current Approaches To Treatment Of Liver Cirrhosis

Although the liver possesses a natural capacity to heal and regenerate, the absence of warning signs preceding its failure poses challenges in timely interventions. This allows the disease to progress considerably, causing the patient to get the right diagnosis only when the liver has been irreversibly damaged.

Liver transplant stands as the only treatment option for liver failure for most patients. Also there are considerable limitations, such as donor scarcity, the risk of rejection, and surgical complications.

However, early diagnosis can allow for timely intervention, which can help the patient adopt proactive measures. These involve following a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy body weight, regular exercise, complete abstinence from alcohol consumption, undergoing routine blood tests, and regular screenings for liver cancer.

Stem Cells For Liver Cirrhosis

Current stem cell research for liver disease can develop potential treatment options to slow down the pathogenesis of this condition.

Stem cells can stimulate the regenerative capacity of the hepatic cells by creating significant changes in the microenvironment of the liver tissue. Treating liver cirrhosis with stem cell therapy is expected to improve liver function.

In addition, liver stem cell treatment has demonstrated remarkable therapeutic potential for lowering inflammation in the hepatic tissues, thus inhibiting the further progression of tissue damage and scarring associated with cirrhosis.

This suggests that stem cells for liver cirrhosis might lower the risk of complications, including abnormal bleeding, infections, malnutrition, weight loss, reduced cognitive function, congestive cardiac failure, and liver cancer.

Stem cell treatment for liver cancer might also help prevent the spread of cancer cells to other tissues of the body, thus lowering the risk of metastatic liver disease.

Mechanism of Stem Cell Activity in Cirrhosis Management

Stem cell research for liver disease highlights the regenerative activities of the liver. However, this organ is also limited in its healing capacity. As a result, it fails to heal completely when the rate of cellular damage exceeds the rate of regeneration of new cells.

Stem cell therapy can promote the regenerative potential of the liver, thus slowing down organ damage.

Thus, treating liver cirrhosis with stem cell therapy  can improve the quality of life of patients by transferring them from a state of day-to-day survival to an improvement in overall health.

The Procedure Of Liver Cirrhosis Treatment With Stem Cells

Here are major steps of the procedure:

  1. Consulting with healthcare professionals and undergoing medical checkup to ensure the effectiveness and safety of using stem cells for liver cirrhosis.
  2. Studying the treatment centers and the treatment options and making the informed decision.
  3. Obtaining stem cells from the donor’s body or from the patients themselves. Stem cell therapy for cirrhosis of the liver often involves using multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) due to their therapeutic potential and great safety. 
  4. Injection of stem cells into the patient’s body to stimulate the regeneration of new and healthy hepatic cells.
  5. Getting additional treatments, such as physiotherapy, to enhance the effect of stem cells treatment.
  6. Evaluating the results and tailoring further treatment to the patients’ needs.

Is The Treatment Safe And Are There Any Side Effects?

The treatment with liver stem cells is safe and not known to cause serious side effects, as it involves infusing mesenchymal stem cells retrieved from the donor’s body into the patient’s body.

Liver Cirrhosis And Stem Cell Treatment
Stem Cell Treatment On Cirrhosis

Scientific Basis For Using Stem Cells In Treating Patients With Liver Cirrhosis

The scientific basis for using stem cells for liver cirrhosis is based on the regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).

MSCs are believed to possess the highest potential in regenerative medicine for cirrhosis treatment due to the following advantages:

  • Ability to transform or differentiate into a variety of cell types
  • Ability for large-scale production
  • Ability to migrate toward affected tissues
  • Availability of multiple sources for the isolation of MSCs
  • Multiple therapeutic properties such as anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, immunomodulatory, angiogenic, and anti-fibrotic

These benefits of MSCs help restore lost tissue functions and increase the regeneration potential of the body, making stem cell treatment for liver cancer a viable option.

These benefits of liver stem cell transplant also make it an effective therapy for the management of underlying pathologies involved in the development of cirrhosis.

Expected Results: What Improvements Do Patients Get?

The hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulating properties of mesenchymal stem cells can help regenerate the tissues of the liver. MSCs can be especially effective in reducing the symptoms of cirrhosis, including jaundice, fatigue, intestinal issues, weight loss, protein-energy malnutrition, and skin disorders. Liver cirrhosis stem cell therapy might also lower the risk of complications and improve the patient’s quality of life.

Factors such as the patient’s age, genetic predisposition, the duration and stage of the condition and the severity of symptoms can alter the effectiveness of stem cells for liver cirrhosis. Hence, the results of this treatment may vary. 

Patient Outcomes And Testimonials Of Liver Cirrhosis Treated With Stem Cells At Swiss Medica

Oscar, one of our patients from the United States, shared his experience of a visit to the Swiss Medica Clinic. He received stem cell liver regeneration in the Russian branch of our clinic. He spent 12 days at our clinic in Moscow and had “significant improvements” in his health over this period. He attributes his recovery to the quality of care and medical staff at the clinic.

Watch his testimonial video here to get an idea of the patient’s experience with the stem cell treatment of liver cirrhosis at Swiss Medica Clinic.

Cost Of Stem Cell Therapy For Liver Cirrhosis

The cost of stem cell therapy for liver cirrhosis depends on the severity and duration of the condition. It also depends on the extent of liver damage and the patient’s general health.

You can talk to our stem cell experts at the Swiss Medica Clinic to learn more about the cost, indications, and expected results of stem cell therapy and find out where it is legal to receive stem cell therapy for liver damage. The doctor will define the list of necessary procedures that impacts the cost. Price ranges from €7,000 to €25,000.

Contact us

Contact us to learn about the expected results of the treatment, its cost and duration.

Liver Cirrhosis And Stem Cell Treatment
Dr. Aleksandra Fetyukhina, MD

Medical Advisor, Swiss Medica doctor

List of References

  1. Pinzani, M., Rosselli, M., & Zuckermann, M. (2011). Liver cirrhosis. Best practice & research. Clinical gastroenterology, 25(2), 281–290. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpg.2011.02.009

  2. Ginès, P., Krag, A., Abraldes, J. G., Solà, E., Fabrellas, N., & Kamath, P. S. (2021). Liver cirrhosis. Lancet (London, England), 398(10308), 1359–1376. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)01374-X

  3. Lu, W., Qu, J., Yan, L., Tang, X., Wang, X., Ye, A., Zou, Z., Li, L., Ye, J., & Zhou, L. (2023). Efficacy and safety of mesenchymal stem cell therapy in liver cirrhosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Stem cell research & therapy, 14(1), 301. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13287-023-03518-x

  4. Tsuchiya, A., Takeuchi, S., Watanabe, T., Yoshida, T., Nojiri, S., Ogawa, M., & Terai, S. (2019). Mesenchymal stem cell therapies for liver cirrhosis: MSCs as “conducting cells” for improvement of liver fibrosis and regeneration. Inflammation and regeneration, 39, 18. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41232-019-0107-z

  5. Liu, P., Mao, Y., Xie, Y., Wei, J., & Yao, J. (2022). Stem cells for treatment of liver fibrosis/cirrhosis: clinical progress and therapeutic potential. Stem cell research & therapy, 13(1), 356. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13287-022-03041-5

  6. Lukashik, S. P., Aleĭnikova, O. V., Tsyrkunov, V. M., Isaĭkina, I.aI., Romanova, O. N., Shimanskiĭ, A. T., & Kravchuk, R. I. (2013). Eksperimental’naia i klinicheskaia gastroenterologiia = Experimental & clinical gastroenterology, (12), 3–7.

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