UGR News Scientists from the University of Granada (Spain), in collaboration with the University of León, have confirmed that stem cells from human umbilical cord blood can be an appropriate therapy for the treatment of hepatic diseases such as hepatitis, and are therefore an effective alternative to bone marrow. According to a scientific paper which will be published before long in the prestigious journal Cell Transplantation, human umbilical cord blood cells (HUCBCs) are useful for hepatic regenerative medicine, as they are capable of nesting in the liver after carrying out a xenotransplant from human to rat.
This work, carried out by Ana I. Álvarez-Mercado, María J. Sáez-Lara, María V. García-Mediavilla, Sonia Sánchez-Campos, Francisco Abadía, María Cabello-Donayre, Ángel Gil, Javier González-Gallego and Luis Fontana , did research into the regenerative potential of HUCBCs cells using a xenotransplant model from human to rat in which HUCBCs were injected through the hepatic portal vein of rats with hepatitis caused by D-galactosamine.Significant improvements
The scientists explain that the cell transplant carried out in rats caused an improvement both in the histological damage and in the hepatic function, as proved by the enzymatic activities of alanine transaminase, alkaline phosphatase, gama-glutamyl-transpherase and lactate dehydrogenase, as well as the concentrations of total and direct bilirubin.
The present treatment for terminal hepatic failure consists of a liver transplant. This method is, however, limited due to the lack of donor organs. In addition, there is not at present a specific treatment for the fibrosis caused by many hepatic diseases, so that receive a treatment for the complications of the disease. The development of such alternatives is therefore an essential objective for present research to improve suffering in many patients.
(Source: Cell Transplantation: University of Granada: July 2008)