New therapy holds promise for treating chronic liver failure

New Delhi: In a first, doctors have used a unique therapy to regenerate liver tissue for patients suffering from chronic liver failure, thus increasing their chances of survival.

Using granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) therapy, doctors at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, an autonomous super speciality hospital of the Delhi government have been able to increase survival chances of 23 patients suffering from acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF), which has high mortality.

"G-CSF, a type of protein and a growth factor, is given under the skin to stimulate the bone marrow of the patient...The bone marrow cells which in a way are recruited to produce stem cells populate the damaged liver and regenerate it to some extent," Hepatologist at ILBS, Dr S K Sarin said.

"This therapy could be a respite for patients who cannot undergo a liver transplant because either they do not have a donor or they are not medically fit to undergo a liver
transplant," he said.

With this therapy one may achieve better survival, even up to 70 per cent in ACLF patients who may otherwise die in a couple of months after diagnosis, he added.

Worldwide researchers have taken out bone marrow cells from the patient`s own body and culture it with the help of growth factors, and then these augmented marrow derived cells are put into the liver through blood vessels.

"We opted for a simple method," he said. However he added a word of caution, that these are selected patients treated under a protocol and not every patient may get benefit from this therapy.