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South London’s renowned King’s College Hospital was the site of the world’s first ever liver cell transplant. The fortunate patient who was in need of it: Iyaad Syed. He underwent the procedure six months ago for liver damage caused by “a herpes-simplex virus” as reported by BBC.
Now eight months old, Iyaad is being called the ‘miracle boy’ as he has made almost a complete recovery and is the picture of health. Iyaad started making his recovery within 48 hours of receiving the treatment. Now professionals are wondering if the procedure would be successful for more patients in need of a liver transplant.
There are about a hundred people dying daily waiting for a donor for a liver transplant. Being too close to death, doctors decided to inject Iyaad Syed with donated liver cells. Within days results occurred, the liver cells processing toxins the way the boy’s own natural liver should.
The cells were also coated with a chemical found naturally in algae. This protected the donor cells from being attacked by the immune system.
Two weeks after the transplant Iyaad’s liver began to recover and grow stronger. The possibility of the full use of his liver soon looks good.
What the process allows for the patient is skipping out on the need for immunosuppressant drugs. These medications affect the activity of the immune system and can have serious and dangerous side effects. A normal organ transplant would require the use of these drugs, and such patients are less able to resist infections caused by such medication.
Although researchers are eager to find out if the procedure would benefit other patients with such severe liver damage, the team at King’s College advises caution. A large clinical trial still needs to be done to know the full extent of the technique’s effectiveness.