Improving the techniques for human hepatocyte transplantation: report from a consensus meeting in London

Cell Transplant. 2012;21(1):1-10. doi: 10.3727/096368911X566208.


On September 6 and 7, 2009 a meeting was held in London to identify and discuss what are perceived to be current roadblocks to effective hepatocyte transplantation as it is currently practiced in the clinics and, where possible, to offer suggestions to overcome the blocks and improve the outcomes for this cellular therapy. Present were representatives of most of the active clinical hepatocyte transplant programs along with other scientists who have contributed substantial basic research to this field. Over the 2-day sessions based on the experience of the participants, numerous roadblocks or challenges were identified, including the source of cells for the transplants and problems with tracking cells following transplantation. Much of the discussion was focused on methods to improve engraftment and proliferation of donor cells posttransplantation. The group concluded that, for now, parenchymal hepatocytes isolated from donor livers remain the best cell source for transplantation. It was reported that investigations with other cell sources, including stem cells, were at the preclinical and early clinical stages. Numerous methods to modulate the immune reaction and vascular changes that accompany hepatocyte transplantation were proposed. It was agreed that, to obtain sufficient levels of repopulation of liver with donor cells in patients with metabolic liver disease, some form of liver preconditioning would likely be required to enhance the engraftment and/or proliferation of donor cells. It was reported that clinical protocols for preconditioning by hepatic irradiation, portal vein embolization, and surgical resection had been developed and that clinical studies using these protocols would be initiated in the near future. Participants concluded that sharing information between the groups, including standard information concerning the quality and function of the transplanted cells prior to transplantation, clinical information on outcomes, and standard preconditioning protocols, would help move the field forward and was encouraged.

Publication types

  • Congress

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / therapy*
  • Liver Regeneration
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells
  • Stem Cells
  • Transplantation, Heterologous / methods
  • Treatment Outcome