Tonsil stem cells could help repair liver damage without surgery

Oct 2, 2014

Image credit: Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock

By Fiona MacDonald

At the moment, when our livers fail the only option is to perform a partial or complete transplant. Not only this costly and inherently risky, it’s also not always possible – there are far more patients needing liver transplants than donors.

But now South Korean scientists have discovered a new technique that could allow doctors to inject stem cells from the tonsils into the liver to repair damage – all without surgery.

Scientists have already started taking adult stem cells from bone marrow to develop liver cells that can be transplanted into a damaged liver, but these cells have their limitations and it’s quite invasive to get them in the first place.

Recently, researchers have realised that there’s another useful source of adult stem cells – tonsils. Although tonsils can help the body avoid infection, they’re a body part that we don’t really need, making them a perfect candidate to harvest adult stem cells from.

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One comment on “Tonsil stem cells could help repair liver damage without surgery”

  • I see a similar breakthrough has been made here:-

    A paralysed man has been able to walk again after a pioneering therapy that involved transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord.

    Darek Fidyka, who was paralysed from the chest down in a knife attack in 2010, can now walk using a frame.

    The treatment, a world first, was carried out by surgeons in Poland in collaboration with scientists in London.

    Details of the research are published in the journal Cell Transplantation.

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