Cell therapy trial offers new hope to liver disease patients

November 24, 2014, University of Edinburgh

Liver disease patients could be helped by a new cell therapy to treat the condition.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have received funding to start testing the therapy in patients within the next year.

It will be the world's first clinical trial of a new type of cell therapy to treat , a common disease where scar tissue forms in the organ as a result of long-term damage.

The Edinburgh team has received funding from the Medical Research Council and Innovate UK to investigate the disease, which claims 4000 lives in the UK each year.

The only successful treatment for end-stage liver cirrhosis at present is an organ transplant. The new therapy is based on a type of white blood cell called a macrophage, which is key to normal repair processes in the liver.

Macrophages reduce and stimulate the liver's own stem cells to expand and form into healthy new liver cells.

Scientists will take cells from the blood of patients with liver cirrhosis and turn them into macrophages in the lab using chemical signals.

These new cells will then be re-injected into the patient in the hope they will reduce scarring and help to rebuild the damaged organ from within.

The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service and the Cell Therapy Catapult are collaborating on the project.

Causes of liver cirrhosis include infections such as hepatitis C, obesity, alcohol abuse and some genetic and immune conditions.

Liver transplants are limited by a lack of available donors and the risk that a recipient's immune system will reject the transplanted organ. Many people die each year just waiting for an organ to become available.

Professor Stuart Forbes, of the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said: "Liver cirrhosis is on the increase in the UK and is one of the top five killers. If successful, we hope that this approach could offer a new way to tackle the condition."

Explore further: Researchers publish 'landmark' results for curing hepatitis C in transplant patients

Related Stories

Researchers publish 'landmark' results for curing hepatitis C in transplant patients

November 11, 2014
A new treatment regimen for hepatitis C, the most common cause of liver cancer and transplantation, has produced results that will transform treatment protocols for transplant patients, according to research published online ...

Scientists shed light on how liver repairs itself

March 4, 2012
Scientists have shed light on how the liver repairs itself with research that could help develop drugs to treat liver disease.

Combination therapy offers quicker, less toxic eradication of hep C in liver transplant patients

November 9, 2014
All patients with hepatitis C who receive a liver transplant will eventually infect their new livers. These transplanted organs then require anti-viral treatment before they become severely damaged. But traditional post-transplant ...

Study reverses current thought on treatment of cirrhosis

June 19, 2014
Researchers at Mayo Clinic released a new study reversing current thought on the treatment of cirrhotic patients with type 2 diabetes. The study found that the continuation of metformin after a cirrhosis diagnosis improved ...

Update on new treatments for liver diseases

November 21, 2014
Cirrhosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are two serious liver conditions with limited pharmacological treatments. The December issues of AGA's journals—Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Gastroenterology—highlight ...

Team uncovers mechanism, and possible treatment, for immune suppression in liver disease

April 13, 2014
The mechanism which underlies the susceptibility of liver disease patients to life-threatening infection has been uncovered by Wellcome Trust-funded medical scientists, who have also suggested a possible treatment to reverse ...

Recommended for you

Research finds new mechanism that can cause the spread of deadly infection

April 20, 2018
Scientists at the University of Birmingham have discovered a unique mechanism that drives the spread of a deadly infection.

Selection of a pyrethroid metabolic enzyme CYP9K1 by malaria control activities

April 20, 2018
Researchers from LSTM, with partners from a number of international institutions, have shown the rapid selection of a novel P450 enzyme leading to insecticide resistance in a major malaria vector.

Study predicts 2018 flu vaccine will have 20 percent efficacy

April 19, 2018
A Rice University study predicts that this fall's flu vaccine—a new H3N2 formulation for the first time since 2015—will likely have the same reduced efficacy against the dominant circulating strain of influenza A as the ...

Low-cost anti-hookworm drug boosts female farmers' physical fitness

April 19, 2018
Impoverished female farm workers infected with intestinal parasites known as hookworms saw significant improvements in physical fitness when they were treated with a low-cost deworming drug. The benefits were seen even in ...

Zika presents hot spots in brains of chicken embryos

April 19, 2018
Zika prefers certain "hot spots" in the brains of chicken embryos, offering insight into how brain development is affected by the virus.

Super-superbug clones invade Gulf States

April 18, 2018
A new wave of highly antibiotic resistant superbugs has been found in the Middle East Gulf States, discovered by University of Queensland researchers.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.