Stem Cells Therapy For Liver Disorders

A liver-related issue, like fatty liver, liver failure, liver cirrhosis etc. is noted to be growing problem and is identified to be a leading cause of death in many developed countries. Millions of people worldwide are reported to be affected with liver disorders; according to a recent investigation through the world health organization, it has been estimated that this increasing number of liver issues can be associated with faulty routine, wrong eating and drinking habits, stress as well as sedentary lifestyle. Conventional medicine defines only transplant as the ultimate option; however, increasing demand of suitably matched donor organ has created a much longer awaited wait list to get a suitable donor.

However, further discovery of stem cells and the science of regenerative medicine reveal the possibility of delayed progression of liver damage and restoration of loss function. Stem cells are the naïve cells of our body, with the inherent ability to differentiate into cells of different origin. A characteristic feature of these mighty cells to undergo unlimited, rapid multiplication makes them perfect candidates for further application in therapeutic arena. Although, embryonic stem cells are proven to be the most potent candidates for cell based therapy, their adult counterparts isolated from adult organs, like bone marrow, adipose tissue, etc. are as well found to be important in transdifferentiation or lineage specific cellular differentiation. Studies have identified that the fraction isolated from these autologous sources contain two types of cells, mainly hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells are thought to create a perfect niche, suitable for immune regulation, secretion of different growth factors and induction of resident stem cells to be differentiated into tissue specific cells. On the contrary, mesenchymal stem cells are identified to be exhibiting strong anti-inflammatory properties, suitable for further delaying the progression of cellular degeneration and are as well responsible for cellular differentiation to desired cell types.

Scientific as well as technological advancements have allowed easy and safe isolation of these specified stem cells outside the body, from variety of adult sources with minimally invasive techniques. The stem cells treatment is supported to work well, because liver is found to be an active organ, involved in self regeneration. The resident stem cells quota that is present in liver named to be hepatocytes, are responsible for normal wear and tear of the liver.

Studies related to endogenous liver stem cells and stem cells isolated from adult autologous sources support the predicted characteristic of stem cells and further declare them to be safe and feasible for human applications.  Although, the field is rapidly evolving to understand the internal mechanism of liver failure as well as steps to be implemented to undergo liver regeneration, for opening new therapeutic avenues for the treatment of liver disorders. It should as well be understood that stem cells therapy for liver disorders, is a complex therapeutic module, requiring expert’s advice and support for the same. The ethical, legal and social issues, associated with liver regeneration should never be overlooked, with the perception that science should be utilized as mean for hope and not the harm.