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Pioneering liver treatment cures baby

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 2:30 EDT
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British doctors said they had cured a baby boy of a life-threatening liver disease using a pioneering treatment in which cells are injected into the abdomen.

The team from London’s King’s College Hospital treated eight-month old Iyaad Syed by injecting him with a group of cells, which acted as a temporary liver while his real organ recovered from damage caused by a virus, BBC reported.

“This is the first time this treatment has been used to treat a child with acute liver failure,” said professor Anil Dhawan, a liver specialist at the hospital.

“It’s only a few months back when I first saw this child who was so sick requiring support on dialysis and a breathing machine.

“We think we have given him another chance of life and seeing him now six months down the road with nearly normal liver function is remarkable.”

Syed would normally have been put on the transplant waiting list when his liver began to fail, but the hope now is that more cases will be cured using the new technique rather than relying on a scarce supply of donor organs.

Doctors injected liver cells which then processed toxins and produced proteins, fulfilling the role of a temporary liver while his own began to recover two weeks later.

The cells were treated with a chemical to prevent them from being destroyed by the youngster’s immune system.

Iyaad’s father, Jahangeer, called his son “a miracle boy”, adding “it is brilliant and we are very proud of him.”

The treatment’s development now depends on an extensive clinical trial.

Andrew Langford, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust, told the BBC: “The principle of this new technique is certainly ground-breaking and we would welcome the results of further clinical trials to see if it could become a standard treatment for both adults and children.

“Sadly, we have reached a breaking point with our transplant list in the UK, where approximately 100 people die waiting for a donor liver to become available each year.”

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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