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New study to treat liver disease with cord blood

A study is being conducted by China’s Qingdao University to investigate the efficacy of cord blood to treat liver cirrhosis.

Cirrhosis of the liver is now the third highest cause of death in the Western world. The devastating disease is caused by factors including alcohol abuse and hepatitis resulting in scarring and poor liver function. Patients often require a liver transplant, but these are expensive and rarely available – only 35 are conducted in New Zealand every year.

For the study, cord blood was infused into 50 patients through the hepatic artery – the major artery that supplies blood to the liver. Patients’ liver function will be tested at four weekly intervals to test for improvement against the control group which will receive the more traditional antiviral drugs, lowering aminotransferase (liver enzyme) and jaundice medicine.

The study will conclude at the end of 2012.

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