Doctors led by an Indian-origin specialist in Britain have claimed that they have cured a baby boy of a life-threatening liver disease using a world first technique that involved injecting cells into his abdomen.
In their ground-breaking treatment, the doctors at King's College Hospital in London implanted cells into boy's abdomen that acted like a temporary liver and allowed the damaged organ to recover.
Eight-month old Iyaad Syed was close to death as a virus had damaged his liver causing it to fail. He was severely in need of a liver transplant.
The BBC reported that instead of going on a waiting list for a transplant, doctors led by Prof Anil Dhawan injected donor liver cells into his abdomen that processed toxins and produced vital proteins acting rather like a temporary liver.
The cells were coated with a chemical found in algae which prevented them from being attacked by the immune system.
The researchers claimed that after two weeks his liver had begun to recover. Prof Dhawan said, this is the first time this treatment has been used to treat a child with acute liver failure.
Dr. Ragai Mitry, who helped in developing the technique, said, they were very pleased to see that the transplanted liver cells have helped in supporting and delivering the missing metabolic functions of Iyaad's failing liver.
The question now is whether the technique could be used to benefit other patients with acute liver failure.
The team at King's College Hospital is urging caution and said a large clinical trial is needed to test the effectiveness of the technique. However, they said the key benefit of this treatment over a liver transplant is that Iyaad will not need to take anti-rejection drugs known as immuno suppressants.