Author(s): Khan AA, Shaik MV, Parveen N, Rajendraprasad A, Aleem MA
Liver transplantation is the only existing modality for treating decompensated liver cirrhosis. Several factors, such as nonavailability of donors, combined with operative risks, complications associated with rejection, usage of immunosuppressive agents, and cost intensiveness, make this strategy available to only a few people. With a tremendous upsurge in the mortality rate of patients with liver disorders worldwide, there is a need to search for an alternative therapeutic tool that can combat the above limitations and serve as a supportive therapy in the management of liver diseases. Cell therapy using human fetal liver-derived stem cells can provide great potential to conservatively manage end-stage liver diseases. Therefore, the present investigation aimed to study and prove the safety and efficacy of human fetal liver-derived stem cell transplantation in patients with end-stage liver cirrhosis. Twenty-five patients with liver cirrhosis of different etiologies were infused with human fetal liver-derived stem cells (EpCAM+ve) labeled with Tc-HMPAO through hepatic artery. Our high throughput analysis using flow cytometry, RT-PCR, and cellular characterization exemplifies fetal liver cells with their high proliferation rate could be the best source for rejuvenating the diseased liver. Further, no episodes related to hepatic encephalopathy recurred in any of the subjects following hepatic stem cell transplantation. There was marked clinical improvement observed in terms of all clinical and biochemical parameters. Further, there was decrease in mean MELD score (p < 0.01) observed in 6 months follow-up in all patients. Therapy using human fetal liver stem/progenitor cells offers a potentially supportive modality to organ transplantation in the management of liver diseases.