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Liver Cell Transplantation

In 1993, Robert A. Fisher, M.D., H.M. Lee Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the Hume-Lee Transplant Center, was the first surgeon in the world to perform a successful human hepatocyte liver cell transplant using liver cells that previously had been frozen.

The patient, in multiple organ failure, stabilized and was able to undergo a successful liver transplant several days later. In this case, liver cell transplant was used as a bridge to solid organ liver transplant. Sometimes, the liver cell transplant is the only transplant needed, as the liver cells perform the necessary liver functions to survive.

The regenerative capacity of the liver enables transplanted cells to reconstitute injured, or defective, liver tissue. The liver cell transplant is performed by infusing human liver cells through a large vein in the abdomen. These cells take up permanent residence in the liver and perform the normal liver metabolic functions.

Liver cell transplantation will be discussed by one of our transplant surgeons, if deemed an appropriate treatment option.