Baby cured with pioneering liver treatment

A baby boy in England has been cured of a life-threatening disease, which was destroying his liver

Doctors including two of Indian-origin in London implanted cells, which acted like a temporary liver, and allowed the damaged organ to recover.

The team at King's College Hospital in south London say the technique is a world first.

Six months ago eight-month-old Iyaad Syed was close to death, as a virus had damaged his liver causing it to fail.

Instead of going on a waiting list for a transplant, doctors injected donor liver cells into his abdomen.

These 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.

After two weeks Syed's own liver had begun to recover.

Professor Anil Dhawan, a liver specialist at King's College Hospital, said that the whole team at the hospital was delighted.

"This is the first time this treatment has been used to treat a child with acute liver failure," the BBC quoted Prof. Dhawan as saying.

"It's only a few months back when I first saw this child who was so sick requiring support on dialysis and a breathing machine.

"We think we have given him another chance of life and seeing him now six months down the road with nearly normal liver function is remarkable."

Iyaad's father, Jahangeer, said his son was "a miracle boy".

"Once he had the treatment after 48 hours he started to get better and hope came back. It is brilliant and we are very proud of him," the father said.

The question now is whether the technique could be used to benefit other patients with acute liver failure.

The team at King's is urging caution that a large clinical trial is needed to test the effectiveness of the technique.

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