Umbilical cord stem cells may prevent liver transplant rejection

A pilot study suggests that umbilical cord tissue-derived stem cells (UC-MSCs) can help prevent liver rejection after transplantation.

The study was published in STEM CELLS TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE at the end of November 2017. It used mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord tissue, which can transform into a variety of other cell types.

The resulting data showed that the UC-MSCs could have stopped “acute allograft” rejection of transplanted livers in 14 patients, by harnessing the immune system to accept the transplant. There were no noted side effects. The report therefore concludes that after further trials, UC-MSCs could feasibly be used to help reduce rejection rates.

This study aimed to evaluate the safety and clinical feasibility of umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cell (UC-MSCS) therapy in liver transplant patients with acute graft rejection. No complications or side effects were observed. UC-MSC therapy can alleviate liver damage and improve allograft histology. Furthermore, the peripheral frequency of regulatory T cells (Tregs), the Treg/T helper 17 (Th17) cell ratio, and the levels of serum transforming growth factor beta 1 and prostaglandin E2 were significantly increased after UC-MSC transfusion.

– Ming Shi, Research Centre for Biological Therapy, Beijing

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