25 Nov Stem Cell Therapy Has The Potential To Help Patients Suffering From Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B, or HBV, is a very common virus that can be transmitted through bodily fluids. It will eventually cause damage to the liver if left untreated. This condition can be controlled through medications and is preventable with a vaccine. If the disease badly damages the liver, patients may need to undergo a liver transplant. Stem cell therapy is being considered as an alternative procedure for patients suffering from hepatitis B and liver complications. This may offer hope to patients that are waiting on a transplant list for a new liver, suffering from their hepatitis B symptoms.
What Is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It can be acute and resolve without treatment, or chronic, leading to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Many HBV infections occur during infancy or childhood because a mother can pass HBV to her child during childbirth. However, doctors rarely diagnose HBV in childhood, as it causes a few noticeable symptoms. Symptoms of a new HBV infection may not be apparent in children under 5 years of age or adults with a suppressed immune system. Acute symptoms appear around 60–150 days after exposure to the virus and can last from several weeks to 6 months.
A person with a chronic HBV infection may have ongoing episodes of abdominal pain, persistent fatigue, and aching joints. If symptoms arise, they may also include, fevers, nausea, vomiting, dark-colored urine, and jaundice. HBV is transmissible when blood, semen, or another bodily fluid from a person with the virus enters the body of an individual who does not have it.
This disease can be sexually transmitted, transmitted from child to mother, unsafe tattoo and piercing practices, and sharing personal hygiene products. Health workers may be at risk through unsafe medical practices, such as reusing medical equipment, not using personal protection, or incorrectly disposing of sharps. Hepatitis B is not transmitted through food or water, kissing, breastfeeding, coughing, or sneezing. The virus can survive outside the body for at least 7 days. During this time, it can still cause infection if it enters the body of a person who has not received vaccination against it.
There is no cure for HBV, but there are vaccines to prevent a person from ever becoming infected. For chronic HBV infection, antiviral medications are available. This is also not a cure for chronic HBV. However, it can stop the virus from replicating and prevent its progression into advanced liver disease.
How Can Stem Cell Therapy Help Patients Suffering From Hepatitis B?
Stem cells offer new and exciting procedure options for patients suffering from chronic ailments. The damage caused by hepatitis B is difficult to reverse after it has reached the liver. Stem cells offer patients hope that may be waiting for a liver transplant. This therapy can heal damaged tissues by replacing them with new liver cells that function properly. Once the liver has been healed, stem cell blood transplants can eradicate the virus with hepatitis B-surface antibodies. This procedure is still being researched as a therapy method for patients with hepatitis B and liver damage.