Feb 21

Written by: narendra1186
2/21/2013 2:21 PM

Liver failure counts 60000 lives per annum in India and doctors depend heavily on liver transplant. Hardly a thousand liver are saved annually with liver transplant dur to donor crisis. To fill this huge gap scientists have started focusing on growth factors which will enable the diseased organ to regenerate at its own. Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences (ILBS) has treated more than a hundred patients on the basis of liver's unique property to rebuild itself.

According to Dr S K Sarin (Director of ILBS), being a very special organ, even if, liver's one-third of the overall mass is damaged, it can regenerate itself completely with in a month time. This self healing process is affected in chronic liver failure patients. Granulocytes - Colony Stimulating Factor (G-CSF :- a cell product which makes the white cells) is being used to regenerate the liver regeneration. The patient is injected with G-CSF intravenously 12 times in a month. He also shared that four years back they started this therapy on trial basis and significant improvement has been noticed in the survival rates of the patients taking the medicines. Only selected patients can undergo this therapy and its misuse can lead to severe side-effects, he added.

This week ILBS hosted a two day workshop on regenerative medicine in liver disease where researchers from Germany who are working on the same project also put forth their views. Dr Joerg F Schlaak shared the role of a hormone, Erythropoetin (EPO), in liver regeneration as a growth factor.

Professor Andreas Nusser head of research & development at the Eberhard Karls University, Tubingen, Germany explored the scopes of development of bio-artificial liver which can act as a bridge between transplantation and regenerative medicine. However its still at experimental level, he added.

The future of liver disease lies in regenerative medicine. Several studies are being conducted to identify the growth factors to save lives and deal with the problem of donor crisis. Fatty liver disease is a big problem in European countries due to overeating and excessive drinking.

Liver is the main chemical factory of the body, weighing approximately one-and-half kilograms and, is the largest organ of the body. After absorption by the intestine, food is processed by the liver. Liver is also responsible for the neutralization of the toxins we may have taken in and production of the proteins for protecting us from infections and bleeding.

Some of the common health problems that affect liver's functioning are fatty liver disease, hepatitis B & C and cirrohis. These problems might lead to liver failure and one of the treatment option available for such patients is liver transplant. Donor unavailability, costly treatment and infrastructure related issues are some of the problems we are currently facing in liver transplant.

Dependability on immunosuppressive drug throughout the life after liver transplant is one of the major drawback of transplant.

Needless to say, many lives would be saved if the new therapy succeed. Injections will be patient convenient as they can be taken at home.


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