Bone marrow derived stem cells for the treatment of end-stage liver disease

End-stage disease due to liver cirrhosis is an important cause of death worldwide. Cirrhosis results from progressive, extensive fibrosis and impaired hepatocyte regeneration. The only curative treatment is liver transplantation, but due to the several limitations of this procedure, the interest in alternative therapeutic strategies is increasing. In particular, the potential of bone marrow stem cell (BMSC) therapy in cirrhosis has been explored in different trials. In this article, we evaluate the results of 18 prospective clinical trials, and we provide a descriptive overview of recent advances in the research on hepatic regenerative medicine. The main message from the currently available data in the literature is that BMSC therapy is extremely promising in the context of liver cirrhosis. However, its application should be further explored in randomized, controlled trials with large cohorts and long follow-ups.