British doctors said Tuesday they cured a baby boy whose liver was failing by injecting donor liver cells into his abdomen so he did not have to wait for a transplant, BBC News reported.
A virus had damaged Iyaad Syed’s liver, and the 8-month-old boy was close to death. But doctors at King’s College Hospital in London injected donor liver cells into his abdomen, which acted as a temporary liver, allowing his own liver to recover.
To prevent the cells from being attacked by Iyaad’s immune system, they were coated with a chemical found in algae.
"This is the first time this treatment has been used to treat a child with acute liver failure,” said professor Anil Dhawan, a liver specialist at the hospital. “It's only a few months back when I first saw this child who was so sick (he required) support on dialysis and a breathing machine.”
Iyaad’s father, Jahangeer, said he noticed a difference in his son within 48 hours of the procedure.
However, doctors at King’s College said they would like to conduct a large trial of this procedure before all patients with liver failure use this as a treatment.
Iyaad will not have to take immunosuppressant drugs, which is seen as a huge benefit to the procedure.