Treatment of patients with liver disease by hepatocyte transplantation has expanded dramatically over the last decade, especially for treatment of patients with liver-based metabolic disorders. While much progress has been made, full realization of its potential has not been reached. Treatment of acute liver failure has been hampered by a number of factors, but the efficacy of hepatocyte transplantation in treating this entity could be better determined through a multi-institutional trial using a uniform and standardized treatment strategy. The barriers to treating chronic liver failure resulting from cirrhosis are more extensive. Novel strategies are being developed to safely precondition patients with liver-directed radiation therapy in order to enhance donor hepatocyte survival, long-term engraftment and improve treatment of patients with life-threatening liver-based genetic deficiencies. This work could soon be translated to the clinic. Once hepatocyte transplantation has been shown to effectively replace organ transplantation for a portion of patients with liver failure and life-threatening liver metabolic diseases, it is likely that multiple novel sources of donor hepatocytes will be developed, making cell therapy available and effective for a broad population of patients with liver disorders.
- Hepatocyte transplantation