A meta-analysis of 10 studies conducted in the People's Republic of China shows that patients with liver cirrhosis who received cord blood transplantation with routine supportive therapies did better than those who received routine therapies alone.
China is the world leader in deaths from liver disease
The 10 studies comprised 616 people, 327 who were treated with cord blood and routine therapies and 289 who were treated with routine therapies alone.
Liver disease is a major worldwide health concern, especially in China, where nearly 400,000 people die from it each year; China represent 51% of the worldwide deaths. Liver disease is mainly caused by the overconsumption of alcohol, overuse of acetaminophen or the hepatitis virus.
The routine approach to liver therapy focuses on changes in lifestyle, including abstinence from alcohol, a reduction in non-prescription pain relievers and a low-sodium diet. Immunizations against hepatitis, influenza and pneumococcus are also recommended. Cord blood as a treatment option is thought to stimulate the growth of new liver cells and inhibit the death of current liver cells. The meta-analysis showed that umbilical cord blood stem cell therapy "greatly enhanced liver function" and "improved quality of life."