London: Doctors led by an Indian-origin specialist in Britain have claimed that they have cured a baby boy of a life-threatening liver disease using a world first technique that involved injecting cells into his abdomen.

In their ground-breaking treatment, the doctors at King's College Hospital in London implanted cells in the boy's into his abdomen that acted like a temporary liver and allowed the damaged organ to recover.

Eight-month-old Iyaad Syed was close to death as a virus had damaged his liver causing it to fail. He was severely in need of a liver transplant.

Instead of going on a waiting list for a transplant, the doctors, led by Prof Anil Dhawan, at the King's injected donor liver cells into his abdomen that processed toxins and produced vital proteins -- acting rather like a temporary liver.

The cells were coated with a chemical found in algae which prevented them from being attacked by the immune system.

After two weeks his own liver had begun to recover, the researchers claimed.

"This is the first time this treatment has been used to treat a child with acute liver failure. It's only a few months back when I first saw this child who was so sick requiring support on dialysis and a breathing machine, said Prof Dhawan, a liver specialist at King's.

"We think we have given him another chance of life and seeing him now six months down the road with nearly normal liver function is remarkable."

Dr Ragai Mitry, who helped in developing the technique, said: "We are very pleased the transplanted liver cells have helped in supporting and delivering the missing metabolic functions of Iyaad's failing liver."

Iyaad's father, Jahangeer, said his son was "a miracle boy". He added: "Once he had the treatment after 48 hours he started to get better and hope came back. It is brilliant and we are very proud of him."

(Agencies)